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15 Review

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Brash study of Singaporean punk rebellion with outcasts of society seen taking drugs, self-piercing, fighting and contemplating suicide.

★★★★★

Much of the controversy that's been packed with debutorial deliberation into this brash study of Singaporean punk rebellion will be lost in translation, as what passes for shocking in one of Asia's most controlled societies will barely register a flicker here.

Most viewers will be oblivious to the censorship battle that raged over the more violent scenes and the perceived rap homage to numerous outlawed street gangs. Nor will they appreciate that the actors playing the five outcasts, seen here indulging in virtually every facet of anti-social and faintly rebellious behaviour that you can think of, were plucked from the squalor to which most have since returned.

However, they're very likely to lose patience with Royston Tan's self-conscious use of every trick in the musi-vid director's handbook, as the visual pyrotechnics overwhelm the bruising realism that Tan hopes will expose the dark side of the Lion City.

In some ways, this could be described as the Singaporean City of God. But in almost every department - visually, thematically, dramatically - it's inferior to that Brazilian classic.

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