Necktie Youth

Necktie Youth ★★★★

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With its Pulp Fiction-esque sprawl and community of Johannesburg teens, writer and director Mer’s Necktie Youth bears all the hallmarks of a precociously talented young filmmaker – for better or worse.

His script coalesces around the shocking livestreamed suicide of a teenage girl, but elsewhere it lacks focus, relying on some awkward observational dialogue that only occasionally captures the everyday realism he’s aiming for.

The direction is far stronger, with a tremendous eye for an evocative image. Mer is ably supported by Chuanne Blofield’s gorgeous black and white cinematography, and some poetic editing that every now and then achieves brilliance.

There are patches of bad – even embarrassing – acting and writing, but despite this, Mer has created a thought-provoking and melancholy picture of life in modern Jo’burg.