21 July 2014 | rana2757
Explosive beginning but then disappoints, slowly fizzling out
Guilty at 17 was carried by one of the movie channels and aired on July 6 when I caught it, happening to be awake when otherwise I'd normally be in bed.
The film gets right to the point: with allegations of sexual abuse. The premise is perfect for a sizzling tennis match with conflicting testimonies, hidden agendas, teenage angst under peer pressure and undercover investigative work to search for the truth. However, bad script writing then takes over and we're left with a half-hearted badminton match between two key personalities, the heroine and the villainess. Both appear hamstrung by some ludicrous moments in the script that render the film almost comical.
As a viewer, I thought June Gailey's grief simply too mechanical at the teacher's suicide. Her moment of denial at his death is fleeting. Her anger was non-existent. Her recollection of happier times with him is blatantly absent. She moves straight to the final stage of bereavement by token acceptance. The audience is left bewildered at her decision to then turn around and investigate this suicide as suspicious. Overall, Alex Paxton-Beesly starts with tremendous potential since she's the "living" victim of a dastardly deed but the directors squander this capital by canning her emotional expression.
Chloe Rose plays the bad girl Devon Cavanor and I think she does a terrific job being the pathological schemer eventually caught up in her own game. The scenes of conflict between June and Devon are there in theory but are simply not exploited.
The audience expects a dramatic flare up between the two women in the classic sense: "good" girl against "bad" girl. Alas, there's no shouting or screaming, pulling of hair, glass shattering, dishes smashing and tables tumbling. There's no passion at all! It might be corny but even some little action between the heroine and the villain, a little hot, intense girl on girl fight scene, for example, would bump up the entertainment value, providing some dramatic relief to the monotony of poor script.
Finally, many of the personalities portrayed appear "out of character" with their real person seeming to take over at times, leaving one wondering whether we're still in the movie or in a reality TV series.
Overall the film needs some serious editing and a major script overhaul but that's probably not to be expected from its Canadian producers.