Beyond Clueless confirms many of the worst fears of Kickstarted films. It lets Guardian journalist Charlie Lyne explore a niche that really doesn’t need exploring, or if it does need exploring then this doesn’t do it in a very interesting way. The film is a long video essay on a very specific genre of film, teen movies from 1995-2004. Fairuza Balk (herself a teen actress from the era) gives the film a deadpan narration soaked in irony and dispassion, while Summer Camp provide new tunes to give life to the never ending montage of film clips. Chapter by chapter Balk monotonously narrates each facet of the teen movie: drugs, sex, cliques. If you already loved this genre then at best you can laugh and nudge your friend when ‘that bit from that film’ is shown but most viewers would rather just spend their 90 minutes watching one of these films for themselves rather than being drip fed bits and pieces which don’t amount to anything. Lyne makes a point that teens and teen movies are inevitably forced into comfortable conformity, which is simply not an interesting enough thesis. Lyne has clearly enjoyed making this film but I’d be surprised if many others get much from it.
Review by David Rank
Beyond Clueless is out now in the UK.. Running time 89 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).