Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Movie Review: Bomb City

Bomb City *** ½ / *****
Directed by: Jamie Brooks.
Written by: Jamie Brooks and Sheldon Chick.
Starring: Dave Davis (Brian), Glenn Morshower (Cameron Wilson), Logan Huffman (Ricky), Lorelei Linklater (Rome), Eddie Hassell (Oles), Henry Knotts (King), Dominic Ryan Gabriel (Jason), Luke Shelton (Cody Cates), Maemae Renfrow (Jade), Michael Seitz (Davis), Lukas Termin (McCormick), Audrey Gerthoffer (Michelle).
Even if you don’t know the true story behind Bomb City, you know from fairly early on that things are not going to end well. The movie tells the story of a clash between punks and jocks in Amarillo, Texas back in 1997 – a story that ended up with one of the punk’s dead, run over by one of the jocks, during an out and out brawl. That fight was violent – weapons were being used, and people were getting hurt – but had one of the jocks not used his car to run down one of the punks, it’s likely no one would have been killed. We see, fairly early on, a grandstanding, moralizing defense attorney, Cameron Wilson (Glenn Morshower) as he demonizes the punks, and basically paints his client – the football player who killed the punk – as a saint, or at least a scared kid, who did what he felt he had to do.
Bomb City lets you know what side it is on right from the beginning. The sympathies are clearly with the punks – especially Brian (Dave Davis), who will ultimately become the victim of the horrific accident. The film strikes an ominous tone from the beginning – because of those courtroom scenes, but also in its use of music. There is a melancholy tone even in what should be happier moments – moments where Brian is at ease with his friends, or his girlfriend, thinking about his life, and what it will become. He and his friends are outsiders to be sure – but they like it that way. This is Texas, where they idolize football, but the punks are placing themselves deliberately outside of that culture.
Still, while I think that Bomb City ultimately does a very good job of showing the punk culture, and what is behind that, I don’t think it does a particularly strong job of showing the other side – the football side. The film makes a few efforts at breaking through with Cody (Luke Shelton), the football player who will ultimately kill Brian, but it’s more lip service than anything else. A few scenes of him being somewhat outside, even on the football team, but nothing overly deep – so when you do finally get those tragic moments near the end of the film, you never truly do understand Cody or why he does what he does.
But what Bomb City does excel at is showing this larger community of punks, and how when guys are young and dumb, things spiral out of control, and the consequences can be far more real than anticipated. The two groups have a lot in common really – right down to the fact that both are essentially wearing uniforms at all times in public so that you can identify their tribe (white hats for the jocks, Mohawks for the punks). The slights and aggressions start off so minor that they’re barely worth mentioning – but neither side is willing to back down, neither side wants the other side to think they’re weal or scared, so it spirals out of control.
Perhaps the reason first time director Jamie Brooks – a native of Amarillo, who also shot the film there – seems to be firmly planted on the punk side of the divide is as simple as he understands it better. OR it could very well be he is trying to counter attack the real defense attorney, who basically blamed Brian for his own death. He was a “real” Texan – not like this boy, from a solid Christian home, who played football. Sure, he used his car to kill someone, but just look at him. He’s clearly responsible for his own death. The saddest thing about the film is that the argument seemed to work – which is what makes Bomb City hit as hard as it does.

No comments:

Post a Comment