In September, I was lucky enough to attend Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. One of the most remarkable films of the 33 I saw was “The Dirties.” This film, now available on VOD and in select theaters, is one of the most genuine and innovative representations of high school life I have ever seen.
I won’t say too much because what makes this film work so well is its crafty execution. Shot by unseen kids, the film follows two best friends trying to make a movie for school. Matt, the protagonist, is a film lover who seems to live by a mantra of movie quotes and potential filming possibilities. His best friend, Owen, begins as little more than a sidekick to the ever eccentric Matt, but as girls and his social life start controlling his life, the two friends must deal with the realities of growing up.
I’ve never seen a movie like The Dirties. Some scenes were completely unscripted and the other characters in the scene didn’t even know they were being filmed. I only say this because I was pleasantly surprised at how little gimmick the director uses. In trying to describe this film, I kept finding myself either over explaining or focusing too much on techniques the filmmakers used. Rather, this is a very simple story that brilliantly speaks to a generation that finds humor where others might cringe.
Having said that, this film is by no means a comedy. Perhaps the wonderful thing about this film is how difficult it is to categorize. Simply put, I loved it.