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Time Out says

Singaporean wunderkind Tan reckons that in the ’80s he would have been jailed for his anti-consensual punk film experiments; in the ’70s he’d have lost his head. Come 2003, his nanny-state’s censor merely lopped 15 scenes from his feature début, then bemoaned the ‘unwarranted ridicule’ Tan responded with in the satirical short ‘Cut’. Judging by this film’s nihilist energy, Tan could be keeping the scissor-men snapping a while yet.

Expanding on his award-winning short ‘15’, which provides the feature’s first 15 minutes (this is for all for real), ‘15’ tells not much of a story of a rag-tag of juvenile gangster delinquents as they career through various stages of offence, abuse, and malarkey light and dark. ‘A gangster regrets,’ sloganises an early inter-title, introducing three supposedly real-life Malay ne’er-do-wells strutting their stuff in an audaciously stylised jump-cut montage of surly posing, body-modifying, music-video-style soliloquising, and fighting Chinese rivals.

Tan glosses over the transition from the original short’s material by having his one constant young gun, Shaun, trade in his first two confidantes for the company of a rival goon and a suicide obsessive – they check out handy landmarks to jump from – but the fascination flags over an hour and a half; there isn’t the characterisation to bear out the film’s prodigal attitude. The disaffection is palpable, the style berserk, but the sense of despair – ‘the world’s most lethal drug’? You’d have to know it already.
Written by NB

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 4 February 2005
  • Duration:93 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Royston Tan
  • Screenwriter:Royston Tan
  • Cast:
    • Shaun Tan
    • Erick
    • Melvin Chen
    • Melvin Lee
    • Vynn Soh
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