2:37 (2006)

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A contemporary, ensemble drama telling the complex tale of six high school students whose lives are interwoven with situations that so many of today's youth are faced with. The story takes place during a normal school day. At precisely 2:37 a tragedy will occur, affecting the lives of a group of students and their teachers. As the story unfolds, the individual stories of the six teenagers are revealed, each with its own explosive significance. An unwanted pregnancy unravels a terrible, dark secret; all is not as it appears for the seemingly confident school football hero; an outcast must deal with everyday taunts from his peers; a beautiful young girl battles an eating disorder; a stellar student constantly struggles to win his parents' approval; while another uses drugs to escape from his own demons. --IMDb
Teresa Palmer
Teresa Palmer
Frank Sweet
Frank Sweet
Sam Harris
Sam Harris
Charles Baird
Charles Baird
Joel Mackenzie
Joel Mackenzie
Review by Chad
Added: July 26, 2007
Unless you fit snugly into one of the various cliques, high school was (or is) probably a pretty tough time. Sure, life was easy if you were on the football team or a cheerleader, but try being the school nerd, the stoner, or the guy that came out of the closet - your life was probably pretty miserable for those four years. In this Australian film from Indian director Murali K. Thalluri, we get to take a glimpse at one fateful day in the lives of six teenagers who definitely don't fit in with their school's cliques, and what a day it was.

The film begins with a shot of a young lady trying to get into the school bathroom for some unknown reason, and apparently, she's more concerned with who is on the other side of the door than having to actually use the bathroom. A teacher eventually hears the commotion and summons the school janitor, and together, they finally get the door unlocked. What they find is a large puddle of blood on the floor and... and we then cut back to what happened earlier in the day to lead up to this tragic event.

The first order of business in the film is the character introductions, and this is done in an almost documentary fashion as we watch talking heads introduce themselves for the camera while we also watch them go about their daily lives. Each of these kids has their own set of problems, but very few of them are actually connected to one another. Our characters for the outing are Melody (Teresa Palmer) and Marcus (Frank Sweet), two siblings with a very bizarre home life, Sean (Joel Mackenzie), a stoner who has recently come out of the closet much to the disdain of his family and his school peers, Kelly (Clementine Mellor), a young lady with a secret crush on one of the boys at this school, Steven (Charles Baird), a guy with medical problems which cause him to wet himself uncontrollably, and Luke (Sam Harris), the school jock who is going through some rough times of his own.

Each of these kids work through their problems on their own for the most part, but each of their stories are interconnected in subtle ways; for example, two of the guys will be having an intense conversation in the bathroom when the third walks out of the stall and accidentally gets involved in the situation, and we then shift to his point of view on the situation and watch where he goes from there. He then goes through his day a little bit, and he eventually has some sort of interaction with another character and we follow her from there. It goes back and forth like this throughout the film, and I have to say that I was impressed with how it was handled and how the storyline continuity stayed focused throughout the running time.

What I particularly enjoyed about the film was the fact that it stuck to the "day in the life" motif and didn't go for the typical Hollywood ending where everything works out for everyone. No, the gay guy doesn't suddenly fit in and become the homecoming king, no, the guy with the medical problems doesn't go to the doctor and have his problems fixed up, and nope, the lady with the crush doesn't wind up dating the guy she's in love with. We're simply along for the ride as we see what each of them go through, and we also see how their problems seem trivial once the final tragic event rolls around and puts everything into perspective.

I was also impressed by the performances turned in by each of the actors and actresses involved. Now, I'm not very up to speed on Australian film stars so I can't honestly say that I'd seen any of these people before, but each of them brought the proverbial A-game to the table. This results in a film that genuinely feels like you're watching real high school kids go through their day instead of a handful of people playing the roles, and I must say that this greatly enhanced my viewing pleasure.

It has been said that Thalluri was heavily inspired by Gus Van Sant's Elephant when writing this film, but I couldn't compare the two as I haven't seen said film. However, what I do know is that I enjoyed the hell out of this one, and the mere fact that some have said that the two films are similar makes me want to immediately pick up a copy of Elephant and see how well it stacks up against this one. It's rare for a film to do that for yours truly (especially considering that these films are far from my preferred genres), but 2:37 has done it. For that, I have to go with a 9/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 07/26/2007, 02:42 PM
Don't bother with Elephant. It's pretty terrible.
grain of sand #2: grain of sand - added 07/26/2007, 04:29 PM
with how well you speak of this one I hope its nothing like Elephant, I definitely expected a whole lot more but ended up with a very watered down HBO view on school violence..
doney #3: doney - added 07/26/2007, 09:01 PM
on the dvd i had of this it had the making of, and how Thalluri had the scrape together every last penny to make this film, and how they did things on the cheap eg. instead of hiring a dolly for the camera, they 'borrowed' a shopping trolley from the local supermarket and the camera man stood on that. apparently most of the actors were just picked up off the street. the only veteran actor was Gary Sweet, the teacher.
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