Director Joel Schumacher's new drama "Twelve" is a genuinely riveting piece of filmmaking.
August 12th, 2010
Director Joel Schumacher's new drama "Twelve" is a genuinely riveting piece of filmmaking. Featuring a strong ensemble cast of young actors and an authentic omniscient voice, the movie based on a novel written by Nick McDonell falls right in place with the best cinematic adaptations of Bret Easton Ellis's work. However, unlike "Rules of Attraction," "Twelve" never pretends to be a comedy. This is a tragedy through and through. And the moviegoer can certainly feel the weight of said tragedy at any given moment during the motion picture. These teenage characters do not give one much reason to care about them, yet Schumacher reassures us that they are simply behaving out of a struggle to survive. "Twelve" is essentially a gritty look at the glamorous life. Chace Crawford portrays White Mike, a high school dropout who spends nearly every waking moment dealing drugs to his former classmates in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Ever since his mother's death, White Mike has lived a double life with his childhood friend Molly (Emma Roberts) and his supplier Lionel (Curtis Jackson) on opposite ends of that spectrum. White Mike's two lives begin to collide when his cousin is murdered near an East Harlem playground while desperately trying to score a new drug known only as twelve. Unaware of his cousin's whereabouts, White Mike's world rages on as the social event of the year – Sara Ludlow's (Esti Ginzburg) 18th birthday party - draws near. Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, "Twelve's" ensemble cast also includes Philip Ettinger as a young man who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, Rory Culkin as an unpopular kid who tries to keep his brother (Billy Magnussen) in check and Emily Meade as a young woman who will do just about anything to score. "Twelve" is like watching a ticking time-bomb that has mere moments before it explodes. The suspense is sincerely nerve-wracking as we watch these privileged young people disrespect their own lives and approach the point of no return. Although we do not agree with their choices, we empathize with the pain that must be a part of their rationale. Each of "Twelve's" young cast members is absolutely outstanding, with Crawford, Culkin and Meade leading the pack and giving the best performances of all. However, it is Sutherland's searing narration which screenwriter Jordan Melamed adapted from McDonell's novel that cuts straight through to the film's emotional core. This omniscient point of view often provides us with an intimate look at the disturbingly distorted thoughts swimming around these characters' minds. Though it is sometimes sprinkled with a small dose of humor, the narration always provides a uniquely insightful perspective on the unfolding tragedy. It adds significant depth to these characters and their respective tales. And, like any good cinematic puzzle, each character plays a very vital part in the movie's eventual outcome. Schumacher goes out on a limb with this strikingly stylized independent drama and the audience reaps the rewards. “Twelve” delivers one of the year's most emotionally electrifying experiences.