The easiest things to do here would be to compare James Hughes to his dad John Hughes, but that wouldn’t give us much or tell you anything about this film. If you are a John Hughes fan, do not watch this with the expectations of this being his type of atmosphere. Some of the subject matter may be similar… in that is a story focusing on teens, but that is the only similarity to a John Hughes’ film.
This film is good; placing us in a situation of knowing as much about what is going on as the characters when we first meet them. One of the students coming up against what he believes the teachers are trying to do in restricting the pupils’ freedoms of speech and what they can believe in.
The teachers you would expect to be people we should dislike… and to a point we do, but nothing is that black and white, as the story unravels; we see both sides of the argument, we find out the truth along with the characters as to what is going on and why people are acting and reacting as they do. And as one the characters comments, it is a situation of people needing something to believe in.
This is a film about standing for what the characters believe in, even when we or they don’t know exactly why, but they/we need to try and make the point and stand for something. Here we have characters that have opinions and they are dealt with in different ways. This film questions the notion of how things can be perceived and how some of it can be twisted to fit an ideology.
This also takes a look at the idea of who will willing go out of their way to make their point, how, if anything, people have to lose along the way and what they have to gain from fighting their opponent. What we have here raises questions and lets the audience answer them for themselves how it fits with our own conscious, it does not force its opinions on us and leaves us to side with those we connect with, finding ourselves seeing where each character is coming from and why they react the way they do.
Some of the characters we may not like, but there are moments which we cannot completely disagree with them, which I feel is one of the great points of the film. Think for yourself and question that which you don’t understand or disagree with, do not presume to know all or force your beliefs on others.