Based on the graphic novel by Charles Forsman, this Netflix original tells the story of two anti-social children (Jessica Barden & Alex Lawther) facing parental neglect who try to escape their problems by being a problem for other people. It’s the type of millennial version of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) one can expect, setting the viewers off in boredom before the first 20 min episode can euthanizes itself, only to follow with another seven episodes of soporific bag watching. Feels like a freshman art major just saw Badlands (1973) and Raising Arizona (1987) and decided to give filmmaking a try.
Between the implied lived experience by abortion, the frontal disinhibition syndrome from lead female character rivaling the level of annoyance of Ellen Page in Juno (2007), and the incompetence of the writers (i get it, it’s a graphic novel) in their unseemly plot holes, predictable nuisances, or insatiable profanity quips from the tiny adults, there is plenty to dislike. The fact that nothing happens aside from two kids running away from home and ending up on the beach in an ending that begs for The Departed (2006) finale is everything you need to know. (If only James had stuck with his original plan.)
Aside from the soundtrack (which is quite good), this inane theatre of mindless repetition has very little to keep it going, but it probably will (ending notwithstanding) thanks to the facile pool of critics who haven’t seen a show they didn’t like for the better part of a decade.
While there’s little that could have been improved upon the central performances (Lawther has ‘the new Ben Whishaw’ stamped all over him), overblown editing choices (the constant quickfire snippets of blood-soaked flashbacks also get on the nerves), and dialogue, that’s not as hilarious as it thinks it is, dilute what could have been a moving exploration on how difficult it can be for some teenagers to escape the darker edges of a painful upbringing.
In the end of the day, there is one line almost worth sitting through the entire cinematic burlesque: “you shouldn’t just make people if you’re going to abandon them.”