Boyz in the Wood (2019)

Boyz in the Wood (aka Get Duked!)
Director: Ninian Doff
Writer: Ninian Doff
Cast: Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben, Jonathan Aris, Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo, Kevin Guthrie, Brian Pettifer, Alice Lowe, Georgie Glen
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2019

Ian (Samuel Bottomley) has signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh trek that leads through the wilderness of the highlands. He wants to pad his resume with the experience to better his college applications. With him are DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), Dean (Rian Gordon), and Duncan (Lewis Gribben) whose motivation couldn’t be much more different: they were mostly forced to complete the trek to avoid juvie. What all four have in common is that they don’t have a clue about the outdoors. As they make their way across the highlands regardless, they realize that it’s not the camping that is the real danger. They are being hunted and it really is about all of their survival.

Boyz in the Wood is a fantastically fun film with a serious class critique at its heart. I felt absolutely energized when I left the cinema.

The film poster showing the heads of DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), Dean (Rian Gordon), Ian (Samuel Bottomley) and Duncan (Lewis Gribben) mounted on a wall like hunting trophies.

Boyz in the Wood is Doff’s first film which I find quite astounding. It is made with such self-assured boldness, I wouldn’t have thought that this was possible for a debut feature. But it was certainly welcome. It becomes even more impressive considering that the four boys that star in the film are young and don’t all have much experience acting. Still, they give fantastic performances that are as much a credit to them as to Doff’s directing – and his writing because the characters are so lovingly drawn up. (Eddie Izzard is also wonderful, but I assume that he doesn’t necessarily need much direction.)

Add to that that the film really has pitch-perfect comedic timing and you get a thoroughly impressive debut feature and simply a fun film that hits many different notes and has an equally fabulous soundtrack.

DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), Dean (Rian Gordon), Ian (Samuel Bottomley) and Duncan (Lewis Gribben) stranded in the wilderness.

That underneath the whole thing lies a core of social critique, especially an awareness of the class system makes it even better. Of course, the film could have been a little more intersectional in its approach, but to be fair, with everything that’s going on here, it didn’t bother me that much that it wasn’t.

In short, it’s a wonderfully entertaining film that makes me hope that Doff makes many more feature films (though I really love his music videos as well). And I hope they will all be played at the /slash.

The Duke (Eddie Izzard) and the Duchess (Georgie Glen) in strange masks.

Summarizing: Great entertainment.

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