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*Film Only Review*
*Rated 18, this film contains upsetting scenes and language, and I discourage anyone under the age of 18 to watch this film*
*May contain spoilers*
I first noticed that 'Heart of America' wasn't on Dooyoo when I was just searching things that interested me to review, and I found it wasn't there, so what else to do but to suggest it of course?!
I have always enjoyed films that are based on real-life, and this in fact is based on the unfortunately sad story of the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999. This film is one of many views of the shootings, and in my opinion it is the best. It is directed by Uwe Boll, a controversial director, but I personally love this film.
The unfortunate events of the Columbine High School Massacre like I said happened in 1999, and the people behind it all were in fact high school students, who it is believed lashed out after years of bullying. These attacks took the lives of 13 people (12 students and 1 teacher) and this is not including the killers, who turned the gun on themselves after they had 'finished'. These attacks also left 24 people injured, and that's not including the poor families who had to deal with tragic losses in their family.
"It's the last day of school, don't punk out on me"
Now, this film starts with statistics, mainly about the likely offenders, and also about the likelihood of these shootings actually happening. Followed by a very dramatic opening, CCTV footage of the shootings. It's very disturbing, and yet makes you want to continue watching. Consistently, it ends with depressing facts, mainly to do with shootings in American schools, but some about other horrendous crimes committed but young teenagers.
I personally think that this film builds up an unnecessary amount to the killings, it's a good film, don't get me wrong, but at the same time, the actual 'killings' only last a maximum of 5 minutes...and surely that's what this film is about? The Columbine High School Massacre, the fact that that day had devastating events and it seems to be merely 'forgotten' and is mainly focused on the reasoning behind the killings.
You are slowly introduced to the characters...all of them, pretty much for the entire film, cutting back every now and then to different ones. You are obviously greeted with the three main characters first (yes, I said three, even though there were only two in the real life event...but I will come to that later!). You have the poor little rich girl, a 'alternative' dress style and music choice, as well as a habit with drugs, and a mum who doesn't really care. You have the hard-done by boy, who listens to heavy metal, and has a dad who constantly 'bullies' him and puts him down. Then you have the boy, who really doesn't have any problems at home (except his father leaving when he was young), but is severely bullied at school.
The way in which they focus in on the characters is interesting, they make you form relationships, and make you feel for some, yet completely disregard others. It's interesting how it is done, and you want certain people to survive...you want certain people to die...which of course is horrible, but when the 'killers' are pointing the guns, you know in your head which character you want it to be pointed at.
The main point focussed in on in this movie is the bullies, the way in which they made the two lads lives hell, they made them eat dog poop, and they beat them up daily, and intimidated them at school...not caring about the consequences. The bullies, on the last day of school are talking to some older friends...asking them about the 'craziest shit they did', and they 'ring-leader' replied with "Slow-white" and continues to tell a story about how he and his friends gang-raped a young girl who was as they suggest 'slow'. The way in which this is told...and the way in which one of the bullies reacts, you are led to believe that in fact 'Slow-white' was his sister...which seems to give him a harsh realisation of what he has done to the two boys, and when given the opportunity to do the bullying he had previously done, he denies it, and tells his 'followers' to leave it.
I personally have some quite heated views on this film, mainly the fact that Uwe Boll has depicted the killers as those who listen to heavy metal music, have an alternative dress sense, and do drugs. I personally listen to heavy music, and I also dress alternatively. I was bullied in school, and while I understand some people do turn 'bad' or want to get revenge, I am a firm believer that music, and wardrobe choice is never a factor to do with these horrible killings. I know that this is not Uwe's fault why it makes me angry, its the way in which the media constantly portray this kind of stuff, but that's a discussion for another day.
The fact that in the end the one kid did 'punk out' is quite a nice ending, it makes a change, and it isn't all doom and gloom. Yes, it's still a sad story, which still happened in real life, but the way it seems one person just couldn't bear the thought makes the film quite touching, and in fact reinforces my opinion above.
I honestly believe that Uwe Boll did some great casting because one of the 'killers' looked incredibly facially similar to one of the actual Columbine killers, Eric Harris, and they were not too far off with the casting for Dylan Klebold either. Although this is only a minor thing, I think it makes all the difference, and yet again shows you how real these events really are.
The critics & facts:
You may have heard it as 'Home Room'.
Released: 5th December 2005
Price: Anything from 83p - £9.99 on Amazon.co.uk
Stars: 4.1/10 (IMDB.com)
Running time: 87minutes (approx)
Don't knock it before you've tried it. I agree, the critical reviews aren't great, but still, it's worth a shot. I bought this DVD off Amazon, without even reading the reviews, and I love this film. If this film isn't for you though, but you find the Columbine shootings interesting, try watching 'Zero Day' or 'Elephant', two very good films regarding the same event, but in my opinion this is the best one.