22 February 2011 | Rodrigo_Amaro
Not good enough but it almost got there
Twelve is the drug passed on several young hands by drug dealers White Mike (Chace Crawford) and Lionel (50 Cent). White Mike is the main character of "Twelve", a former college student that drop out his studies, his friends and his family after the death of his mother; and after that he deals with his suffering by selling drugs to other people that seems to have a pain just like him but what we see is a crowd of young getting high in parties, having fun and more fun, and some drama.
This story reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis book "Less Than Zero" where the relations between drug dealers and their rich young clients are presented in a giant wave of repetition where the lives of all characters seems to going downhill, and no one of them can't do anything to get out the vicious circle of drugs and dangerous pleasures. The difference between Ellis book and this film (adapted from a book written by Nick McDonell) is how both medias work with the theme and here in "Twelve" the tragedies might lead to a possible solution, sometimes positive, other times negative. But while you don't get there to the solutions you're gonna walk over and over the same dull routine of futile characters that is very difficult to feel empathy.
White Mike is the notable exception between these characters and the only who I could relate a little, despite his selfishness in dealing with everyone, turning his back to the world, selling drugs to several people but without using it. You can sense that he's there is this world to suffer and suffer again, but he doesn't release that he makes many other lives suffer too. Not only these characteristics must be appointed but also the fact that he didn't need to do this "job", he was a bright student, had friends and all, but the only thing he hasn't lost was his good looks and his fine clothes (which is quite unusual considering his line of work). Crawford builds brilliantly the only interesting character in the film, the one who gets you hooked in every moment he appears, and the only one who makes the world go round to all the other characters, who most of the time are dead, shallow, ignorant and whining.
And the main problem why we can't connect with some of the supporting figures is because we haven't got enough time to feel their pain, feel their tragedies (if there is one in the lives of rich teenagers who happens to have good education, good clothes and all their parents and their money can buy). They walk, smile, have good looks and are annoying and that's it (Rory Culkin doesn't enter in this list, he's quite good). The screenplay could have done so much better also in terms of presenting a more intriguing and thrilling story; the dramatic problem here is that we can't feel the pain and misery of everyone involved in a world like the one presented in "Twelve". It should have make me feel sad, angry, depressive for seeing how wasted these characters was; instead, it only give me repulsive and detractive feelings towards all of them. But the final message of living the best life that you can saved the film a little, but too little too late. It helps (specially if you consider to which character I'm talking about) but until we reach this moment the movie already lost its course.
It's more problems of a good screenplay than a direction problem, but Joel Schumacher should have interfered more with what had in hands, and exclude the annoying voice-over made by Kiefer Sutherland as the narrator who sees everything and everyone but he's not in the story. Another case of a expandable narration, we, the audience can figure out what's happening unless the writer is indifferent to the powerful use of images and needs to explain everything.
It almost got there in being a good film. There's some good acting (specially Crawford and 50 Cent), some good scenes (White Mike's past remembrances), also some dumb moments (the party's shootout at the ending with the blonde guy expecting a war and causing one). If wasn't for script problems, lack of empathy for the characters and a subtle drugs glamorization this film would be in my list of good films. 5/10