What happens when you take three juvenile delinquents and one home-schooled teen from the big city to the Scottish Highlands for some good-old-fashioned scouting? You might not expect a thriller-comedy, but that’s exactly what Get Duked! delivers.
Originally titled Boyz in the Wood, this film won the audience award at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival. Now it has dropped on Amazon, Aug. 28.
Dean (Rian Gordon), Duncan (Lewis Gribben) and William a.k.a. DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja) are being sent to better their characters by participating in the annual youth orienteering event called the “Duke of Edinburgh Award.” By completing a day-long trek, teens are supposed to learn teamwork, foraging and how to read a paper map. And also learn to connect with nature. The only one excited by the prospect is the awkward and very sheltered Ian (Samuel Bottomley). The four boys are loosely led by Mr. Carlyle (Kevin Guthrie), who is less of a scout guide than an inadequate chaperon.
Things get off to a rocky start as the map is torn up in order to make joints of “cannabis.” Despite Ian’s best efforts to get the others to take the award seriously, the lads hike jauntily into the wild farmlands.
But as they go along, they realize they are not alone. Besides the farmers, the boys find themselves stalked by two masked Highlanders. The husband and wife hunters make it a sport to expel all city-youths that come each year to complete the Duke of Edinburgh Award. As if that twist is not bizarre enough, the local Highland police are on the hunt for a terrorist ring that they erroneously believe has come to their local jurisdiction. Add to that a bread thief and some hip-hop music video attempts by DJ Beatroot, we get a film that is part Hot Fuzz, part The Hills Have Eyes, and part Patti Cake$.
For a teen comedy, this film is ridiculously funny and is a fresh take on the teen-boy genre.
Whiskey and Popcorn is a movie podcast by local film critics Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle. You can hear their full movie reviews on whiskeyandpopcorn.org.