Movie Review - All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Finished and then shelved in 2006, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was finally released in late 2013 on DVD and VOD. And after viewing the film I suspect that I know why it sat for so long. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the film, which was a pleasant surprise. My theory is that during a time when school shootings and the massacre of young people has become a far too familiar story, a movie that borders on the glorification of the death of teenagers is a risky film to make.
I don't mean to to make it sound as if the film makers are in any way irresponsible in their storytelling, but they dare to explore the darker nature of outcast and unstable youths without demonizing them in any way. Although this could be viewed as glamorizing the killing, I would say it actually refrains from judgment altogether, leaving the viewer to decide who the 'bad guys' really are.
The acting is strong across the board, but no where as strong as leading actress Amber Heard as the beautiful Mandy Lane. Absolutely stunning. One look at her face and the title of the film makes all the sense in the world. The rest of the cast portrays the high-school 'popular kids' extremely well, and does a great job of supporting without overdoing it. It makes the story-telling all the more effective, and gives the ending even more of a punch.
I commend the director for taking on such controversial material, and presenting it without judgement. I imagine that is a hard thing to do. I also thought they made some interesting choices as far as the filming itself, opting to intersperse moments of grainy and washed out footage in with the blown-out color palette established throughout the rest of the film. It added a nice visual texture that kept drew me into that world.
The ending of the film isn't exactly hard to guess, but it still works really well in my opinion, and makes for a really enjoyable movie. It is currently streaming on Netflix so I highly recommend you take the opportunity to watch sometime soon.
- Leo Francis