I really wanted to like this movie. I feel terribly cynical trashing it, and that's why I'm giving it a middling 5. Actually, I'm giving it a 5 because there were some superb performances.
The acting in this movie is really good.
Through painfully honest and emotional moments, the movie becomes irresistibly relatable
It is a whirlwind of delight --- attractive actors, stunning couture, spectacular sets and outrageous parties. It's a feast for the eyes. But what really makes this dramedy work is the acting.
Very strange film.Let me say that the title is deceptive as is the buzz on the internet about it.It's not a war film unless growing up is war,nor is it a gay film unless a man and woman kissing is forever to be called a heterosexual film.Its a weird mix of coming of age and aloofness set in the border between Mexico and the US.Usually these "where am I and what am I doing with my life",have been urban city films for the most part.There have be a few exceptions and this is the best of the lot in that respect.Here we have 3 guys who in HS called themselves"the war boys"because they chased"beaners"for fun and reported them to the border patrol.It's strange that one of them,Victor Rasuk as Greg,is Hispanics himself and admits he would do anything to "fit in" so he could "get out". Brian J. Smith as George is white trash with Hispanics"kid sister"he doesn't like because she's different,wonderfully played by Cheyenne Serano as Cat.Finally the third is Benjamin Walker as David,the son of a well off and not so much liked "business man" Peter Gallagher as Slater .The gay theme comes from a long hidden but final coming out between George and David. While this may seem shocking and "earth shaking"it's minor compared to what happens as a result of a boredom and "getting back at dad"scheme that goes horribly wrong. Other more familiar themes are older woman Micaela Nevárez as Marta,last chance for love with younger boy Greg.Stuff we've seen before but in different contexts and not with such catastrophic end results caused by their own indifference while coping with getting by because of the silly prank they pulled to get back at David's dad Slater.It's not a film for everyone and many might not even check it out because of preconceived notions.That would be YOUR mistake. The ending is haunting and will stay with you for quite a while.One of the independent films well worth the effort.Only short coming is the lack of real drug cartel dangers of todays world.
THE WAR BOYS is a low budget, small film by first time director Ron Daniels and written by relative newcomers Naomi Wallace and Bruce McLeod that puts more conflicts before the audience than most hyped Hollywood movies. Where this little film succeeds is in its ability to present the bumps in the lives of young men struggling with the conflict of stepping out of the familial heritage into a world of unknowns. Populated by a very strong cast of young actors, THE WAR BOYS takes us to places other films have feared to go and does so very well. The location of the film is a small town somewhere near the border between the US and Mexico. The War Boys is the name of a group of lads who in highschool worked their own kind of border patrol, finding illegals and chasing them. Among this triad are Hispanic but American born Grigorio (Victor Rasuk) who joins the action to escape the derision by his classmates as a 'beaner', David (Benjamin Walker) whose father Slater (David Gallagher) has money and has sent David off to Duke University to become a lawyer, and George (Brian J. Smith) an insecure lad whose father is a cab driver and whose mother is supportive (their family also includes a young Mexican girl named 'Cat' (Cheyenne Serano) who runs about the little town dressed as Zorro, acting tough but really in need of love from her new brother George. David is home from college on a spring break (he actually was suspended for stripping nude in one of his classes!) and rejoins George and Grigorio for mischief. David learns that his father brings contraband from Mexico into the US and with that surprising inside information the three plan a heist of what they believe to be a truckload of televisions: the escapade goes terribly wrong when the true contents of the absconded truck are discovered. The stories that unfold about each of these boys are what make the film gel. Grigorio is a virgin and is infatuated with Marta (Micaela Nevárez), an older but beautiful owner of a doughnut shop: the interaction between these two needy people - the virgin Grigorio and Marta afraid to become involved with someone younger than she - speaks mountains about relationships versus infatuation and physical needs. David and George have a past history of acting out a physical attraction and this comes forth in a set of scenes that address young male sexual identity challenges in some of the most beautifully realized and subtle scenes on film. David and Slater have father/son relationship problems that come to a crisis with David's attraction to George: the surprise is how sensitively this conflict is worked out. George and Cat have never related but when George confides his sexual secrets to Cat she is the supportive bulwark of understanding - again in a very sensitive and subtle way. Given these character developments and the many critical topics the film addresses (prejudice against illegals, taking advantage of the built in crime of the border towns, sexual identity challenges, etc) the ending of the film is intensely dramatic and leaves the audience with a profound message. An excellent young cast and a fine director make this a powerful little film that should not be missed. Grady Harp
This is a courageous movie, full of stirring moments, sensuality, authentic emotions, love, hatred, ignorance, self-discovery. Had it been launched in Europe, in France perhaps, it would have had major success. In the US, the race discourse, commingled with Jesus talk, environmentalism, identity politics, etc., completely overshadows the genuine merits of plot and cinematography. Acting is not always great, but the roles are not as hard as they look. There is one love scene between two young men in which the tension and the mutual attraction are so well calibrated that anyone, straight or gay, is inevitably touched. Anyone, male or female, gay or straight, can identify with the daring, the fear, the unavoidable accumulation of desire that turns the adolescent into adult. I love how the scene cameos the way the whole movie stages fear and anger, the major emotions in the story, and shows how love can channel them into something positive and constructive. The two young men are perhaps only in lust with one another, at least in that specific scene, but as we know from the plot they also love one another. They have known each other since childhood. This is a powerful story, tragic and beautiful, and true, and perhaps it will earn viewers a sense of peace. Odd that it id not make a bigger splash. 9 out of 10 stars is the minimum.
It's hard to believe there aren't tons of reviews for this film! It handles numerous "taboo" subjects with aplomb, and gives the viewer a whole lot to think about.The three youthful leads give outstanding performances all around, Peter Gallagher does a fine job in support, and Teresa Yengue ices the cake to perfection. Many other fine performances here, don't get me wrong.Try on a "thinking" movie for a change. I think you'll find this most rewarding. Not sure whether this is out on video yet, but please don't give it a pass when it comes your way.