Film Review: Boys in the Trees

Cinematography by Marden Dean.

Review by James Cunningham.

A childhood friendship severed by betrayal is renewed in the somewhat moody-looking South Australian suburbs. It’s Halloween 1997 and two teenage skaters embark on a surreal journey through their memories, dreams and fears. Boys in the Trees is a collision of harsh reality, memory and dark fantasy.

Boys in the Trees resonates strongly because of it’s casting and some of the early character development. Even some of the fairly standard first act was thoroughly entertaining because of the dialogue, editing and how each of the characters played-off one another. The film has a nice build in tension, especially to some pretty hard-hitting moments in the finale final act where lighting just cuts to the bone.

Working with Cinematographer Marden Dean (Fell) to create a shadowy and ambiguous after-dark palette of luscious dark hues, first-time feature Director Nicholas Verso demonstrates great visual flair in creating Boys in the Trees.

The film is drenched in ’90s nostalgia, similar to the affection for all things ’80s in the recent Netflix sensation Stranger Things (2016-). A big shout-out to the wonderful work from Production Designer Robert Webb (Wolf Creek) and Visual Effects Supervisor William Gammon (Patrick).

An outstanding first effort from Verso and another example of Dean’s beautiful/intelligent cinematography ethos. Dean has recently completed photography of Simon Baker’s director-debut Breath, based on the Tim Winton novel, due out next year.

Review by James Cunningham.

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