The Dirties

Art & Culture
After being hideously ill and unable to make the screening I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of the film to watch from my flu-ridden bed. Thank you Elizabeth from Pulse Films!
So, The Dirties. Something has also intrigued me about independent film and as soon as I saw that this had Kevin Smith’s stamp attached to it I was all over it in a heartbeat. I originally came across the film last year through one of Smith’s many podcasts in which he chatted to director/writer/star Matt Johnson about what exactly the film entailed. So I threw myself into the film equipped with what I thought was more than enough knowledge to figure out where it was headed.
This mash-up of documentary, found footage and all-to-real situations captures the sentiment of young film-makers across the Western world and highlights the worryingly slippery slope that Matt, and others like him, can slide down due to the harmful effects of bullying in a media-heavy world. The Dirties manages to capture the intricate, self-involved world that a person can throw themselves into as a result of repeated unprovoked attacks and a constant stream of put-downs and cruel jokes. As someone who didn’t exactly have the easiest time at school I found some of the early reactions to the bullying suffered by Matt and co-star Owen hit a little too close to home but felt that they hit the mark when it came to capturing the potential mindset of a victim. By enveloping himself in a world of film and fantasy, Matt was able to effectively remove any surfacing emotions that came his way, simply by seemingly moving past them and focusing on his film project.
There are certainly no prizes for guessing where the film is heading, in fact, if you haven’t picked up on it within the first fifteen minutes you’ve got a bit of a surprise ahead. Aside from the occasional hint of a camera shot being a bit too HD, something which ever so slightly betrays the homemade feel, the film is shot to perfection and the use of the invisible (except for a popcorn-grabbing hand) Jared is innocent until considered in depth – a silent figure who oversees this spiral into madness without questioning it or stepping in. Then again, perhaps he is a figment of Matt’s imagination and our anti-hero is even less mentally stable than we are lead to believe. Obviously, this is purely conjecture.
I haven’t loved a film like this in quite a long time and it completely outshine my already rather high expectations. Matt Johnson has his character down to such a point that if you were to come across him in the street after seeing this film you’d feel such an unease that you’d be scrambling to get away from someone who in reality is harmless and potentially one of the next generation of truly great directors. Each role is played to perfection and the finale most certainly does not disappoint – as well as the perfectly judged ending to the film the credits are ideal for movie buffs to prove their prowess. The Dirties is probably not for everyone given the sensitive subject matter, which is handled expertly and with a real sense of honesty, yet it is one of the most though-provoking, pulsating films of the decade so far.
Oh, and I would give anything for a look in Matt’s wardrobe…

Catch The Dirties on screen at one of the screenings listed here.