Deemed ”The Wire with wheelies”, Baltimore set documentary 12 O’Clock Boys revolves around natural-born rebel Pug, a 13-year-old aspiring dirt bike rider. Pug’s love for an activity attracting widespread media attention for its negative affects on the local area are a constant strain on his mum, a struggling single parent in a rough neighbourhood. Over the three years that we see Pug growing up, we’re exposed to the thrill and risk involved in a street sport that has clocked millions of Youtube views and an international fanbase, as well as an insight into the damage and havoc it reaps on its surrounding inhabitants, and the understandably wrecked nerves of Pug’s family. Pug’s husky pubescent voice narrates much of the cop chases and stunts in the film, while an impressive lineup of acts including Beautiful Swimmers, Nguzu Nguzu, Schwarz, Dutch E. Germ, James Nasty, Murder Mark, Ninja Posse, Sade, and Samoyed shape the score.
Director Lofty Nathan’s stunning camerawork and tightly edited, action-packed footage are more aligned with an exemplary short film or music video than that of traditional documentary style, whilst delivering a well-rounded depiction of events. Now 16 and a star guest at many of the film’s American screenings, Pug has become something of a superstar, recently interviewed by The Fader, while director Nathan’s name has shot to the attention of most major U.S. film press.
European screenings for are yet to be announced, but we had the opportunity to catch the doc whilst visiting New York, and we can vouch for the many glowing reports that have made 12 O’Clock Boys an essential viewing.
We’ll be keeping you updated on Berlin screenings, but for U.S. theatres see here.