we are the freaks jamie blackleyFalling somewhere between being a satirical social commentary and a full on teen comedy caper – Justin Edgar’s We Are The Freaks may be somewhat chaotic in many regards, yet maintains a genial spirit and distinct watchability, marking the continuously fledging careers of a handful of talented, young British actors.

One of which is Jamie Blackley, who plays Jack, fresh out of school and hoping to begin a university course in creative writing, though unable to fund his ambitions. Set primarily along the course of one eventful evening, along with his misfit friends Chunks (Sean Teale) and Parsons (Mike Bailey), Jack is hoping to forget about his problems, and instead focus on winning the heart of Elinor (Amber Anderson). Feeling the effects of being young in a suddenly post-Thatcher Britain, our protagonists embark on a wildly unforgettable night on the town.

Though not always hitting the mark, Edgar must be commended for his stylistic fervour, and inclination to try something a little unique, even if influences such as Trainspotting and A Clockwork Orange are rife within this picture. There’s a lack of subtlety about the social context too, yet it remains a pertinent theme. Though this is set a Britain of old (1990, to be precise) and is distinctly fantastical, it remains somewhat relatable, as the exploration of youth struggling to get a hold of their own future, is certainly relevant to the present day.

The picture is self-referential too, with various monologues to camera. Though such a meta approach can often be damaging to a film, in this instance it enhances the notion of surrealism, forming a rather interesting dynamic – whereby whimsical characters are placed in an exaggerated universe, and yet the themes explored are so very real. While the talking to camera may form a bond of sorts between Jack and the viewer, the character’s development is simply not handled well enough. Though initially beguiling, Jack soon turns into a mere cipher of sorts, a vessel to explore this abstract world. It’s a shame because as the viewer’s entry point he holds the key, but has few layers to his demeanour.

Blackley remains a real talent to keep an eye on, while naturally Michael Smiley’s performance as the unhinged drug dealer Killer Colin stands out amongst the pack. However you are left to question the entire objective to this piece, and while it’s evidently the point that it goes around in circles and has little greater meaning – symbolic of our protagonists lives – the inconsequential elements do leave you questioning whether you’ve learnt anything from it all. Much like our characters, who admit to taking little away from their adventure, the answer is a resounding no.