Bang Bang You’re Dead (review)

This depressingly real depiction of the horrors of high school, from the Showtime cable network, won four Emmy awards, and deserves to be seen by every student — who will surely recognize something of their own school in it — and every parent of a teenager, who will be horrified at the toxic social environment their children are coping with… or not coping with, as the case may be. Trevor Adams (Ben Foster) is not coping: He endures physical and psychological abuse at the hands of the swaggering football team at Rivervale High, and his response — which came in the form of a fake bomb planted in the school the year before — has made him a pariah among parents and administrators as well. One teacher’s (Tom Cavanagh) attempt to reach out to Trevor’s anger does not sit well with the powers that be: Trevor is cast in a production of Bang Bang You’re Dead, a real play about a school shooting that has been performed all over the U.S. Stark and honest and grim, this is a bitter film about the dismal atmosphere in which our children are learning today, where censorship substitutes for tolerance, where kids are sent to “anger management” sessions but no adult will listen to what they have to say, where security guards search book bags but no one tries to find the source of adolescent rage. There are no answers here, only questions that no one else is asking.

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