As You Are
 
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As You Are

Miles Joris Peyrafitte makes an auspicious filmmaking debut with this gritty and compelling coming of ager.

Told in a series of flashbacks, this slim package takes the standard teen angst and mystery themes to a much more ambitious and sophisticated level. We know early on there’s trouble: a high school boy has been brought in for backround info regarding a tragic event. As Jack tries to fill in the blanks as to his friend’s suicide, we are given scenes both familial and societal. It makes some kind of very sad sense that the struggling Mark might have felt he had no hope. Or that his mere playing with the guns his father gave him turned deadly. Or does it?

Maybe not every scene works as well as some others and maybe, even at 110 minutes, there could have been some tightening along the way, but clearly, Joris Peyrafitte has a remarkable storytelling and visual sense. His cast, highlighted by a lovely Amandla Stenberg and a most welcome Mary Stuart Masterson, is spot on, but the key casting of Owen Campbell and Charlie Heaton (known for the acclaimed Stranger Things) raises the bar. Campbell effectively counterpoints Heaton’s more star-making intensity, making their on-screen relationship a far more dimensional one than might have been on the page. And I do mean might: to just assume so could be underestimating a more savvy script than one might expect from a 23 year old filmmaker.

This is not an easy, fun movie to sit back and enjoy, nor is it an indulgent gritty piece of self-importance. All of which makes this introductory work all the more impressive.

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