A gang of 30-something punks still act like they’re 15, calling each other pussies and setting off fireworks all day. Characterized by an allegiance to movies before hyper-naturalism, it’s fitting that much of the film is in silhouette, as the characters are presented as broad shapes, movie archetypes — the sensitive protagonist stuck between two worlds, Wes Asher, the legendary rebel, Eddie Bombay, and his silent minion, Gogo.
Bursts of music montages provide the framework, filled with vibrant imagery of hands being lit on fire, smoke bombs being batted into the air, a homemade remote control car jumping over a wall of flames, on and on. Striking images and music video energy -- film as excuse to set off fireworks, what’s wrong with that?
In an arthouse film world dominated by character-study ‘legitimacy’ — Smoke Bomb Boys is off on its own, a million miles from academic, its characters never feel real, and that’s always the point. The leader of the stunted pack is Eddie Bombay, who talks like a bully from an 80’s movie, and isn’t quite the badass he lets on — when the pizza parlor owner asks him to leave, he goes without a fight. The whole thing points to an age when rebellion was innocent and expected.
Like its lead character, Wes Asher — a lowly grocery store worker caught between youth and responsibility — the film is conflicted but sincere. It skirts the edge of parody but never goes overboard, putting it in a vulnerable position of not completely joking while using widely dismissed tropes. That's why I like the film. Director James P. Gannon (one of the first filmmakers on NoBudge with his 2009 Super 8mm short film, Cochran), doesn't distance himself from the well worn, and he's satisfied with the basics: All ya need is a punk gang and some fireworks and ya got a movie.
Directed by James Gannon.