BILLY THE KID: DVD
Billy, a 15-year-old outsider growing up in small-town Maine, appears, in many ways, like other teenage boys. He's into heavy metal and martial arts, is desperate to find a girlfriend, and aspires to a career as an actor and rock star. Yet in other ways Billy is unique. A troubled past and ongoing behavioural issues have left him marked. But he is unapologetic about his personality and refuses to be victimized, creating his own techniques to help him survive in an environment of pain, conformity, and prejudice. Billy is funny, sharp, strangely wise for his age, and remarkably candid. We witness life from his perspective - from intimate conversations with his mother, to being bullied at school, to his fantasies of becoming a superhero. We also experience the exhilarating pangs of first love as Billy pursues Heather, a shy 16-year-old waitress.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This is fly on the wall, on the fly doco making, the camera an ever present (sometimes hidden it seems, as no-one seems to take notice of it), presence as Billy makes his daily rounds. He is articulate about himself in a 15 year old way, the naïve and the wise jostling for airtime. But the fascination is not just with the quotidian: it's the sum of Billy's life as just another kid - and yet as unique as we all are.
The rough and ready filmmaking technique makes it challenging for the viewer at times, and perhaps a stricter editing discipline could have tightened the film to a more focused level. It might have made a better film at 64 minutes than 84.
There are glimpses into the now absent biological father and his negative effect on Billy, balanced by Billy's keen interest in music and movies. We do get a snapshot of the 15 year old, and his sweet budding first romance with 16 year old Heather, who has a step-dad just like Billy, and is also an outsider. His first walk with her one evening may be technically inferior but it's at the heart of the story, and how this relationship plays out.
Published October 23, 2008
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BILLY THE KID: DVD (PG)
CAST: Documentary featuring Billy P, Heather Pelletier, Penny Baker
PRODUCER: Jennifer Venditti, Chiemi Karasawi
DIRECTOR: Jennifer Venditti
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Donald Cumming
EDITOR: Michael Levine, Enat Sidi
MUSIC: Guy Blakeslee, Liz Lysinger, Christian Zucconi
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0
SPECIAL FEATURES: None [no subtitles]
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Siren Visual
DVD RELEASE: October 16, 2008