Two high school students, Matt (Matthew Johnson) and Owen (Owen Williams) are making a movie for class. In the film, they star as two students who take revenge on a group of bullies, called “The Dirties”. When their teacher sees the final product, something he deems too violent and vulgar, he demands that they make changes. Matt begins talking about filming an actual school shooting, where they would only kill the bad guys. Owen doesn’t agree, and their friendship begins to fall apart, as Matt goes deeper into planning the violent act.

It’s impossible to ignore that The Dirties is a shocking film, but it’s the reason why it’s shocking that comes as a surprise. Yes, the film is about a school shooting, but not really the actual act. The film is focused more on what happens before, the moments that drive someone to commit such a horrible crime. Director Matthew Johnson doesn’t take this serious subject lightly, and the realistic depiction of bullying, and its effects, is what makes this such an important, and uncomfortable film.

The film isn’t just an outstanding piece of cinema, it’s also a technical masterpiece. Only one line of dialogue was written, leaving Matthew and Owen to improv the rest. Their reactions to moments of bullying are very real, which can be very difficult to watch, especially for anybody familiar with bullies. They also shot the film in a real high school, without many of the students knowing. Beyond the small cast, the rest of the students and teachers have no idea that these guys are making a film.

Is The Dirties essential viewing?

This film cannot be missed. It’s one of the best films of the year, if not one of the best films ever. There is no reason to miss out on one of the most powerful movies around.

The Dirties screens Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm at Cineplex Scotiabank as part of the Toronto After Dark Spotlight Screenings series. Check the TAD website for more information.

More About The Dirties

The Dirties trailer

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