A nethead prep-school kid accidentally videos the death of two schoolmates and then suffers the repercussions.
Angsty, vacuous, voyeuristic — teens of the YouTube generation are NYU film grad Antonio Campos’ debut feature subject. When prep-school boy Rob (Ezra Miller), a web-porn-and-clips-addicted bundle of anxiety, accidentally captures the drug deaths of two schoolmates while shooting a video club project, the aftermath is disquieting, the school’s banal counselling measures only exacerbating his alienation. The usual boarding-school types are evoked with authenticity in a spare, carefully (sometimes maddeningly) framed mix of celluloid with virals and DV. It has striking scenes, but struggles to say anything concrete between artful pretensions and Van Sant/Haneke influences.
Compelling performances and some stand-out scenes but this lacks the cohesive language of Elephant, for example.
Reviewed by Angie Errigo