The Chocolate War
Time Out saysHaving co-written, co-produced and starred in an outstanding independent film - Mark Romanek's Static - Keith Gordon made his directorial debut with this perfectly controlled study of teen tyranny. Every year the pupils of a strict Catholic boys' school are cajoled into selling boxes of chocolates to raise funds for their ailing alma mater. Morale is all-important, so when quiet new boy Jerry (Mitchell-Smith) refuses to participate, the school's principal, Brother Leon (Glover), uses the Vigils (a sadistic elite who terrorise their fellow pupils by giving them devilishly difficult 'assignments' to perform) to bring the rebel into line. But even when the full force of the Vigils is unleashed against him, Jerry continues to resist. A lovingly crafted and superbly acted attack on what Fassbinder used to call 'quiet fascism', this is smooth and rich, but with a delightfully bitter aftertaste.