Thursday, July 28, 2011 review

At Sundance, the kids are definitely not all right

Posted 9:07pm on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011

"If there’s a theme among the films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, it seems to be the plight of the troubled teenager. On Saturday afternoon, I saw three films, all in the dramatic competition, and all of which concerned themselves with bullied, disenfranchised, wholly alienated youth. The estate of J.D. Salinger should perhaps considering suing for royalties.

What the late Salinger would have thought of these mostly earnest, overly self-serious crop of movies is another story entirely.

The best of them is On the Ice, a new twist on the old River’s Edge story, in which two teenagers accidentally kill one of their best friends and then try to bury the evidence. What makes the film striking is its setting, an Inupiaq community in northern Alaska, where the only diversions for young people seem to be sex, hip hop music and crack cocaine. First-time director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean coaxes excellent performances from Josiash Patkotak and Frank Qutuq, two young actors from Alaska; and while the movie is certainly a little rough around the edges, it at least suggests a promising young talent on the way to finding his voice..."