"I don't have money, I can give you something else."
At the beginning of Joel Schumacher's TWELVE, we are given a condensed window into the life of White Mike (Chace Crawford), the lead of the story. During this brief glimpse, the hope is that we will latch on and immediately form a bond with this character, through the tragic loss of his mother from a year ago.
These forced fed feelings fall short. He spends his nights sleeping on floored mattresses, looking disheveled, while peddling drugs to privileged kids during his waking hours. But, his behaviour can be commended for the fact that he only sells marijuana and not the stronger and more addictive twelve--a supposed mix between cocaine and ecstasy. For much of the movie White Mike slowly walks around the streets of Manhattan in a trench coat (perfect for hiding those bags of weed), and sporting a few days growth of facial hair.
TWELVE, the movie, illustrates its characters with one transparent cliché after another. There is Sara, the hottest one in school. A reprehensible girl, she manipulates those around to get what she wants. Be it money, or faked friendship. At several points in the film she teasingly tells others that "I have lots of boyfriends...but I'm not a slut."
Claude is a deranged young man, who has recently escaped from boarding school. Upon his arrival, he does what anyone with a scrambled brain who do, buys a samurai sword and guns. He then spends the remainder of the film lifting weights, threatening people, and stewing in his room until the orchestrated climax.
Christopher is Claude's younger brother. He is the quiet, lonely boy who longs to lose his virginity to Sara, and will spend thousands of dollars of his money to do so. Chris and Claude's parents house is the setting for a great deal of the film. It's funny I should mention parents, because they are noticeably absent throughout. Perhaps, I'm living under a rock, having grown up in a quiet, small town. Then again, I've lived in New York City for the last two years, and the families with kids I do know have some say in their daily lives. TWELVE makes us believe that when conflict arises, a parent's resolution is to simply bail their children out of jail and pay for their psychiatric help.
There are other personalities involved of course, but they are either drug dealers or drug users, and fail to warrant mentioning. With his earlier directorial pursuits such as THE LOST BOYS (1987), and FALLING DOWN (1993), Schumacher put more consistent effort into telling stories worth hearing in front of the lens. Nowadays, for every TIGERLAND, there's a neon and nipple infused BATMAN flick. Here, he has given us a muddled mess; where white construct scenes, and saturated camera shots pass for art.
We are thrown into the affluent lives of a group of teens from NYC's upper east side. The problem is, TWELVE lacks any character whatsoever to root for. We learn nothing through White Mike and the narrator (a very creepy Kiefer Sutherland) save for being philosophical means sleeping in construction sites to mimic your dead mother. The film ends predictably: with drinks, drugs, sex, and violence. My only wish, is that I had been put out of my misery as well.