School’s out and Matthew (Dean-Charles Chapman - ‘Game of Thrones’), Joseph (Finn Cole - ‘Peaky Blinders’), and Rez (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo - ‘Sing Street’) prepare for a summer of debauchery. Frivolous and fervent, all three react totally differently to witnessing a tragedy, with Matthew turning to Jen (Anya-Taylor Joy) for support, Rez sinking into depression, and Joseph becoming increasingly nihilistic and violent.
With its ‘Catcher in the Rye’-inspired opening, ‘Here are the Young Men’ quickly launches its three male leads into troublesome merrymaking as they decorate walls with graffiti, destroy their headmaster’s car, and head to a club, followed by the beach, followed by a park, forever listless and restless. They are brimming with teenage angst, a familiar scene in cinema. But uninspired as the movie feels, nothing is more cringe-inducing than the terrible attempts at Irish accents that pervade this movie.
It makes sense then, in a way, that ‘Here are the Young Men’ never feels like a particularly Irish movie, aside from its locations. The film borrows visual cues from such features as ‘Trainspotting’ or ‘Requiem for a Dream’, but feels like a watered down version of either. The viewer tires quickly of the repetitive party scenes and you get the sense that director Eoin Macken is going for something akin to ‘Dublin Oldschool’ here, but that movie explored such themes so much more effectively.
Chapman’s Matthew is dull and Cole’s Joseph is repulsive. Their aforementioned varying accents are really, really off-putting. Ferdia, in fairness, delivers the most interesting and subtly brooding performance, in a far more authentic, nuanced turn than the other characters, but he gets a significantly reduced amount of screen time from Act 2, probably as a result of the other actors having the bigger names. Emmett Scanlan’s homeless man character is also baffling. He seems to have been meant for a bigger role, but just kind of vanishes. In a way, his stumbling off into the city is reflective of the movie’s overall stumbling nature.
Unfortunately, the intensity of ‘Here Are the Young Men’ feels consistently forced, believable as it is that trauma would impact such different personalities in such distinct ways. One comes away from the movie with little of note.
'Here are the Young Men' is available to rent on digital platforms from 30th April 2021. Wildcard Distribution will also be releasing the film in Irish cinemas later this year.