Discovery

Prank

Vincent Biron

A lovelorn teenage outcast gets drawn into the world of “professional” pranksters, in the agonizingly hilarious feature debut from acclaimed Quebecois short filmmaker Vincent Biron.

The ennui, powerlessness, and confusion of the adolescent world are depicted in excruciating and often hilarious detail in acclaimed short filmmaker Vincent Biron's debut feature, Prank, a fusion of Jackass, Harmony Korine, and O.C. & Stiggs, Robert Altman's caustic trashing of the hipster ethos.

Stefie (Étienne Galloy) is a bored, awkward teenager with giant train tracks, a mouth that's constantly agape, no apparent friends, and nothing better to do than throw a tennis ball listlessly against a schoolyard wall. Enter older pranksters Martin (Alexandre Lavigne) and Jean-Se (Simon Pigeon), who con Stefie into collaborating on a YouTube ruse. Skeptical at first, Stefie is won over to the pranksters' "cause" when he meets Martin's girlfriend Lea (Constance Massicotte), who becomes the image of the ideal woman to his hormone-befuddled mind. (Their every encounter is accompanied by hilariously lush violin music on the soundtrack.) As time passes and the crew grows closer, the pranks get meaner and more elaborate while the frictions in the quartet begin to show.

Biron shuttles between sympathy for and mockery of his hapless, hopelessly lovelorn hero, and casts a savagely critical eye on the actions of Stefie's new "friends" by affording us glimpses into the lives of those the pranksters prank. While Martin, Jean-Se, and Lea give Stefie a much-needed sense of belonging, their jokes are ill-timed, idiotic, and sometimes hurtful. Never losing sight of the pathos of Stefie's outsider status, Prank leaves us unnerved and ambivalent as it paints a brutally funny portrait of teenage boredom and cruelty.

STEVE GRAVESTOCK

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