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:: Wasted On The Young

Reminiscent of fellow Australian movie 2:37, this disturbing movie at times felt like a documentary into the lives of rich, spoilt and beautiful teenagers – and the dangers they hold, the secrets they keep.

Two step-brothers are at the opposite end of their elite high school social hierarchy: Zack and Darren. Otherwise known as the popular one and the unpopular one. At one of Zack’s parties – where Darren stays, locked in his bedroom in self-imposed isolation – Xandrie (the only person Darren has connected with) is drugged, assaulted and left for dead, thrown on a beach. When she doesn’t turn up to school, Darren tries to find out what happened to her. As he slowly connects everything together, with Zack and his ‘friends’ trying to stop him, Xandrie is slipping further and further into her own mind.

This is teenage-hood at its worse. The truly sad and scary thing is that this actually happens. While Darren is desperate for answers, other classmates do nothing. They don’t care. This is most evident in the final scene, where Zack and Darren’s lives are in the hands of the drug-taking, partying crowd at Zack’s latest party. At they stare at their mobile phones, somehow one knows how it is going to end.

Confrontational and disturbing don’t even begin to describe the movie. Solid acting by the leads pulls this incredible story along. Cinematically, it was beautiful – shots of the step-brothers swimming and flashbacks were done with precision and clarity. It was filmed in and around Perth, Western Australia and this small-budget film appeared the complete opposite.

In a world without parents and teachers, the decisions are left up to the students. They don’t realise the power they have – and those with ‘power’ are powerless. Friends are only friends until they’re not. Although the world is changing fast, some things at high schools don’t change and it doesn’t matter what happened on the weekend: everything is the same on Monday. Except to those that are damaged.

Modern communication devices – such as mobile telephones, instant messaging services, the internet, webcams, security systems, video cameras – also played a lead role in the movie, showing all the perils: how quickly can diseases spread? Too quick, it seems. It examines the current time of our youth: more freedom and great access to tools to exploit, damage and destroy. This should be on school syllabuses.