Bang Bang You’re Dead (2002)

Starring: Ben Foster, Tom Cavanagh, Randy Harrison, Jane McGregor

Directed by: Guy Ferland

R. 87mins.

A poignant and emotionally-wrenching film that questions why is it exactly that some students become villains and some victims. Inspired by the play that has been presented dozens of times to students throughout the United States, the focus of the film is on Trevor Adams (Ben Foster), an intelligent but emotionally fragile high schooler whose troubled past has designated him as “at risk” to his peers and mentors. Feeling persecuted by those more popular than himself, Trevor made death threats against the school football team and aligned himself with other “outsiders” who call themselves The Trogs. Trevor has the desire to change but doesn’t know how – his teacher (Tom Cavanagh) recognizes this and convinces Trevor to star in a play about teen violence. Naturally, this stirs up controversy in the community.  Although the script points out that peer pressure and bullying has gone beyond the point of harmlessness in today’s society, it is careful not to blame any one person or group for what ultimately happens to Trevor; even Trevor himself is shown to be comprised of equal parts villain and victim. Unlike other films that have tried to showcase the inner workings of high school and the adolescents who populate it, Foster’s performance  truly captures what it’s like to survive high school and renders all other attempts amateur. The message is strong and almost excessive at times but the film is so compelling you can’t help but be deeply affected. Bang Bang You’re Dead should be shown in every high school across North America – * * * *

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