Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Review: Documentary '12 O'Clock Boys' Is A Beautifully Shot Look At Baltimore's Dirt Bike Riders

The Playlist By Kimber Myers | The Playlist January 31, 2014 at 2:19PM

This first film from Lotfy Nathan benefits from a pair of engaging subjects: teenage Pug and the city of Baltimore. In “12 O’Clock Boys,” Nathan captured Pug’s life for three years, following him as he moved from childhood to adolescence across several rough Baltimore neighborhoods.
2
12 O'Clock Boys

This first film from Lotfy Nathan benefits from a pair of engaging subjects: teenage Pug and the city of Baltimore. In “12 O’Clock Boys,” Nathan captured Pug’s life for three years, following him as he moved from childhood to adolescence across several rough Baltimore neighborhoods. His mother describes him as wild, and she’s unable to keep him from chasing after the 12 O’Clock Boys, a group of dirt bike riders. The group is so named for their jaw-dropping feats of coaxing their bikes up onto one wheel into a vertical position, like the hands of a clock at noon. Not discluding his desire to join the riders, Pug is a handful, but what makes him such a challenge for his mother Coco, makes for fascinating viewing for the audience. He’s full of the energy of a defiant child and the bravado of someone beyond his years who hasn’t yet realized his mortality. He first has a miniature four wheeler, followed by his own bike, and he practices tricks so he can join the group on their Sunday rides across the city.

12 O'Clock Boys

In ways that won’t be surprising to fans of “The Wire,” Baltimore is a character as well. We see a variety of neighborhoods as the riders course through the town, as the cops don’t actively chase them out of concern for citizens who might be caught between the riders and the police. The result is that each Sunday, around 100 members speed through the city without concern for the others on the road or the sidewalk. While the city as a whole may see the men as a menace, some of those in the community feel that joining the 12 O’Clock Boys is a positive alternative to other criminal pursuits.

While the film briefly zooms out to show other experiences of those in the city, this is Pug’s movie. His interactions with his mother, his bike, the world around him and the director himself are fascinating, particularly the way he matures across three years. Nathan picked the perfect subject at the perfect time in his life: a sympathetic, charismatic kid whose future is uncertain. After the death of one of his few male role models (who helped expose him to the exploits of the 12 O’Clock Boys via video and YouTube), Pug tries to become a member. Joining the group seems to be the driving force in his life, keeping him from pursuits that are perhaps more dangerous and ill-fated, but the documentary shares a few stories that demonstrate that the dirt bikers aren’t immortal.

12 O'Clock Boys
Former IFP Doc Lab project "12 O'Clock Boys"

“12 O’Clock Boys” is a bit too enamored of slow motion—despite how appropriate the technique is for the subject matter—and how gorgeous it looks, especially when set against the synthy soundtrack. The riders hang in the 12:00 position as time seems to stop throughout the film, and then it genuinely does slow down. But what works in small doses to establish the feeling that the 12 O’Clock Boys are beating both gravity and the clock ultimately is used at Zack Snyder levels of frequency. The film barely hits the 75-minute mark, and one wonders if it would have fallen below an hour if the film moved at normal speeds. The documentary’s subject is serious—though entertaining—but it still feels slight at times. Some threads (such as that of a former cop blamed for killing a rider) aren’t fully developed, and they feel like they’re included as padding in their nascent state.

Brief as it may be, “12 O’Clock Boys” is an exciting, beautifully shot look at a subculture through the eyes of one of its most devoted admirers. It’s a measured approach that neither wholly endorses or condemns the antics of its title group of bikers, while allowing the audience to see what they do through Pug’s own eyes. [B]

This article is related to: Reviews, Review, Documentary


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates