Wut im Bauch (1979)

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Wut im Bauch: Directed by Jonathan Kaplan. With Michael Eric Kramer, Pamela Ludwig, Matt Dillon, Vincent Spano. A group of bored teenagers rebel against authority in the community of New Granada after the death of one of their own.

“Further than the imagery of white, middle-class American kids and teenagers getting high, speaking in an acquired voice and lingo to convey a both tastefully silly and unsettling angst, thereu0026#39;s a visualization of America in Jonathan Kaplanu0026#39;s appealing, outlandish generation gap exploitation film thatu0026#39;s anything but silly, and by now has basically become the norm. The details of the plot arenu0026#39;t all that essential. Weu0026#39;re expected to grasp a sentiment of adolescent frustration and suspicion.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe locale is New Granada, one of those depressingly vanilla suburban districts that emerged all over this country in an upsurge of real-estate guesswork and substandard urban planning in the u0026#39;60s and early u0026#39;70s. New Granada is a development of dull condos, rigorously serviceable apartment blocks for those who cannot meet the expense of the condos, streets that bend futilely into badlands still to be urbanized, and an ultra-modern high school that seems like itu0026#39;s been built yesterday to accommodate tomorrowu0026#39;s automatons. Itu0026#39;s the assertion of the filmmakers that the planners of New Granada made a grave gaffe in not bearing in mind that a quarter of its population would be 15 years old or younger, with nowhere to go except an old Quonset hut used as a rec center, nothing to consider and, most terrible, nothing to do.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe hub of the film is Carl, an ultimately good 15-year-old boy whose dad, a Cadillac dealer, frets more about selling than about where the kids are, before or after 10pm. Provoked by the case of his more experienced pal Richie, played by Matt Dillon, who auditioned for the role while skipping school, Carl starts to embrace the scornful, tough-guy characteristics of the rest of New Granadau0026#39;s youth, most of whom are on drugs of one kind or another. Carl keeps away from drugs but not danger. New Granadau0026#39;s fanatical policeman, Doberman, discriminatorily blames Carl and Richie for a practical joke perpetrated by two other troublemakers. Like a New Granada street, Carlu0026#39;s life doesnu0026#39;t seem to be progressing.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eDobermanu0026#39;s jumpy shooting of one of Carlu0026#39;s friends induces the filmu0026#39;s furious climax: The New Granada youth charge the high school, where their parents are holding an urgent assembly to argue property values and teenage crime, lock their parents into the school auditorium, and go on a huge sabotage binge. Thereu0026#39;s something unluckily amusing in the image of a smug child, who looks to be no more than 12, talking about scoring some hash for his friends, and about the quandary of another, just as young student who stumbles into an art class, having taken some LSD to begin the day, just to be faced with a projection of a Bosch painting.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe movie canu0026#39;t help idealizing its generally stupid teenagers, their incoherent yearnings and doubts, their disheartenment and, ultimately, their fuming revolt. Not including Carl and Richie, the youngsters arenu0026#39;t characters but a refrain of postures. Unlike other such films, however, this independent suburban wasteland drama dramatizes the tedium and futility of their world with exceptional sincerity. New Granada is a virtually unspoiled visual symbol of the incorporated obsolescence thatu0026#39;s expected to perpetuate the American economy, but which makes crap faster than the crap can be used. If New Granadau0026#39;s kids are apathetic robots, theyu0026#39;re only a spot more offensive and less self-righteous than their ignorant parents.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI suppose, the performances by the grown-ups in the film, particularly by Andy Romano and Ellen Geer, as Carlu0026#39;s parents, and by Harry Northup, as the harrying Doberman, are more effective than those of the younger actors, but both Kramer and Dillon are equal as Carl and Richie. Pamela Ludwig, who plays Carlu0026#39;s girlfriend, is super-hot. A great deal of Over the Edge is gawkily acted and motivated, but itu0026#39;s executed with such vibrancy and disquiet that, as you watch it, youu0026#39;re often caught halfway between an embarrassed laugh and a struggle for breath.”

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