Riot Girls (2019)

Riot Girls
Director: Jovanka Vuckovic
Writer: Katherine Collins
Cast: Madison Iseman, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Munro Chambers, Atticus Mitchell, Jenny Raven, Jordana Blake, Ajay Friese, Ajay Friese, Evan Marsh, Chris Mark, Keanu Lee Nunes, Robyn Alomar
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 21.9.2019
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Plot:
It’s 1995 and a plague has wiped out all the adults. In a small town, the remaining kids have split into two gangs: the rich West side and the poor East side. In the West, Jeremy (Munro Chambers), the oldest kid in town, rules the Titans with an iron fist, excluding anyone who can’t master martial arts. In the East, anyone is welcome and the ragtag group there barely gets by. Part of that group are Scratch (Paloma Kwiatkowski) and Nat (Madison Iseman). When Nat’s brother gets taken by the Titans, Scratch and Nat make their way there to get him back.

Riot Girls may not quite live up to its potential, but it is still good. Scratch and Nat are awesome and the film is fun. I was thoroughly entertained.

The film poster showing Scratch (Paloma Kwiatkowski) and Nat (Madison Iseman) in punk gear. Scratch is carrying a baseball bat with the words "Fuck off" written on it. Behind them in pale black and white we can see two guys in athlete jackets.

Riot Girls builds a world that is quite clearly separated into a patriarchal society – the West side – and an almost ahierarchical one – the East side. The idea is intriguing, but I thought that they could have made more of it, especially if they had explored the West a little more, with its conceptions of different masculinities. But that would have been mostly a bonus – it already works the way it is.

Still, it’s a bit of an issue in the film that it touches on many topics and rarely stays with any one of them long enough to really explore them. I wanted to delve deeper more than once and I think there could have been room for that in the film.

Scratch (Paloma Kwiatkowski) and Nat (Madison Iseman) carrying a backpack.

That being said, I did have fun with the film – a lot of fun. I loved Nat and Scratch and I was very glad that we got an openly queer relationship with them. I was worried for a while that the film would go the “gal pal” road – implying lesbianism as much as conceivably possible without ever actually going there.

The film has a very cool soundtrack and is well-paced, so that it’s easy to enjoy it. It really was good, but there was potential for it to be very good – and it doesn’t quite get there.

Scratch (Paloma Kwiatkowski) walking purposefully with a gun in her hand.

Summarizing: Fun and definitely worth seeing.

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