Bad Boys (1983)

RICK ROSENTHAL

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1983.  , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by , .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

What at first seems like just another early eighties excuse for hyperglamourized juvenile delinquency turns out to be a highly entertaining, thought-provoking and downright riveting prison drama. A very young gets into serious trouble when he attempts to get in the way of a drug deal and ends up accidentally killing a young boy with his car. He is sent to a juvenile detention centre where he survives the violence by facing off with two of the strongest personalities in there, while outside the clink his girlfriend () is vulnerable to revenge from the older brother of Penn’s victim (). Not a moment is wasted in this exceptionally well-directed film that is also notable for strong performances from the entire cast. While somewhat guilty of prettifying its subject matter (though how could this possibly be helped? Movies are by their very nature glamorous under any circumstances), it also provokes questions about class, society, and the method by which these correctional institutions are run:  do we want to help the people we send there, or are we sweeping our problems into a broom closet?

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