Here Are the Young Men: Film Review

Here Are The Young Men

Toxic masculinity has come under the spotlight in the last few years so naturally films addressing the issue come along, such as Here Are the Young Men.

The film follows a trio of friends in Dublin in 2003 – Matthew (Dean-Charles Chapman), Joseph (Finn Cole) and Rez (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who love to take drugs, get into trouble and have a wild time after they leave school. One day, they witness a young girl get killed in a car accident and they each react to the shock differently. None of them really dig deep and express how they’re feeling – and their parents don’t seem interested in hearing their concerns either – so their emotions manifest themselves in a variety of self-destructive and troubling ways.

I liked what the film that had to say about toxic masculinity and men failing to admit vulnerability and talk about their troubles but I wasn’t completely sold on the execution and how the story played out. I thought it got too dark – presumably exaggerating the extreme side of toxic masculinity – and lost the message a little bit. Although it was totally bizarre and surreal, a dream (was it a dream?!) which places Joseph on an American game show in which he has to use guns and grope women to prove himself as “a real man” was quite effective in driving the point home, once you get used to how weird it is.

Chapman is the film’s moral compass and the one who must do what’s right, even if he takes a while to figure it out. He had quite a complex emotional role and did rather well. Cole has the flashier part as the deranged and sadistic Joseph and he was remarkably convincing as the twisted character, while Walsh-Peelo played the quieter and more sensitive Rez. Rounding out the cast is Anya Taylor-Joy as Matthew’s free-spirited love interest Jen. She has a captivating onscreen presence – as always – and makes Matthew take responsibility for who he’s friends with.

Here are the Young Men takes a while to get going but eventually becomes quite a shocking and thrilling watch. I didn’t agree with all the surreal flourishes but it was quite a powerful piece.

On digital platforms from Friday 30th April and DVD from 10th May

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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