A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

film and television
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (article first published : 2008-07-19)

The title of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a bit naff and awkward, suggesting yet another teen romantic comedy, but director Jonathan Levine’s debut feature is in fact a youth horror, a rather captivating one that rises above the average.

It does so by offering a tale which is not only atmospherically shot in a grainy, dirty, retro-70s style, making good use of sun-scorched, Texan desert terrain but which also offers a credible look at contemporary teen issues, lusts and insecurities.

The Mandy Lane of the title is played by perky blonde Amber Heard, seen in Alpha Dog, and she’s a conservative, sweet girl who suddenly blossoms overnight into a hottie of note – one who, without trying, or even acknowledging it in most cases, gets every boy in school drooling and desperate to woo her.

Then a tragedy involving one such wannabe beau leads to a break in the friendship between Mandy and platonic pal Emmet (Michael Welch), with Miss Lane deciding to break into a new circle of friends. Her timing coincides with a weekend away on a cattle ranch, arranged by one of five of her classmates, three of them guys, who tag along. All the boys in this group would give their right arm, and any number of other limbs for that matter, to get to first base with Mandy.

But during the weekend of drugs, drink, skinny-dipping and sexual shenanigans by some in the group, pretty Mandy stays on the straight and narrow and only gets as far as holding hands with one of the guys. Then things start to go wrong … starting when the audience notice a shadowy figure in the background, leading eventually to the characters meeting brutal and bloody deaths.

One girl, for instance, has a gun barrel crammed into her mouth, while someone has his eyes slashed with a knife. There’s also a particularly yughy scene involving a bloody battle amid mud and decaying cattle corpses. It doesn’t help that a power failure soon hits the ranch a night – and the handsome ranch hand, Garth (Anson Mount), becomes increasingly enigmatic.

Peppered with a soundtrack including songs by The Go-Gos and Bobby Vinton, and Gerry Beckley’s rendition of America’s Sister Golden Hair, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane also benefits from a good batch of new faces, among them Aaron Himelstein, Luke Grimes, Edwin Hodge and Whitney Able.

Other plusses are good use of slow-motion and freeze-frame … and a twist ending that isn’t too obviously signposted. It should do well. Rating 6/10 – Billy Suter




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart