It’s not often that I am compelled to watch a short film multiple times, and yet there is something about the sleek editing, nostalgic soundtrack and splendid cinematography of Young Young Men which begged for closer attention. The story is simple, following two adolescent boys from the moment that they open their GCSE results, to a Summer gathering which they attend that evening.
The real triumph of this film lies in Stratton-Twine’s portrayal of male friendship, something which is so rarely caught with genuine sensitivity, and so often paired with crude and over-sexualised language. In Young Young Men, the dialogue is strikingly naturalistic, effortlessly capturing their adolescent ramblings and touching upon teenage insecurities which are subtly revealed through his well placed close up shots. This results in a tender portrait of youth, making the short an engaging watch and ensuring that it veers away from the clichés that films of this genre so often fall into. Further to this refreshing depiction of their friendship, the setting of the film is similarly unique. Whereas one might expect a bildungsroman to take place in an urban environment, the “gritty stories of city life” which Stratton-Twine sought to diverge from, are replaced by this hyper-sensitive portrayal of life growing up in a rural setting.The film is imbued with green and gold tones, colours which connote both juvenescence and joy, something which is bolstered by the closeups of the budding and blooming flowers, mirroring the youth of the characters as they blossom into young adults. Steeped with youthful vigour from the start, the ticking and fast paced music at the opening is perhaps symbolic of the racing childhood years, something that dissolves into a nostalgic piano part which is wonderfully evocative.
The film as a whole presents little to critique, however, there are moments at which the audio is muffled, something which can be frustrating as it obscures key moments of speech. Further to this, I did find that certain parts of the dialogue were ill-conceived, particularly the argument scene which seemed discordant, developing too quickly and adding little to the plot in general. Having said this, Young Young Men was enjoyable from start to finish, as Stratton-Twine has produced an intimate and original portrayal of adolescence, combining all the awkwardness of navigating the teenage years, with his heart-warming rendering of male friendship. All of this, combined with the honeyed landscapes and touching soundtrack, beautifully reflects the contemplative epigraph: “You never know you’re in the good old days until they’ve already happened”.
You can watch Noah Stratton-Twine’s ‘Young Young Men’ here: Young, Young Men on Vimeo
Reveiwed by Susie Reed
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