Recommendation: An original and first time feature that is entertaining, weird, original, a little gross, and a lot of fun in the same vein of early Edgar Wright films. 7/10
IMDB Synopsis: An anarchic, hip-hop inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman.
Get Duked! is a weird film to describe. Part teen buddy comedy, part fish out of water take, part psychedelic trip, and a smidge slasher, Get Duked! works better than it sounds. First time filmmaker (and the writer) Ninian Doff has crafted an original film that manages to capture the fun of bootstrap filmmaking by not taking itself seriously and taking big, bold swings. While not everything pays off, the overall effect is a wildly entertaining—and quick—romp through the Scottish Highlands.
The Duke of Edinburgh, a short, Outward Bound-esque program that Get Duked! hinges around, where groups of teens must hike through the Scottish Highlands to ostensibly learn about teamwork, map reading and other outdoor skills meant to imbue character upon outcast teens. The protagonists are slightly character archetypes: Dean (Ryan Gordon) is the kid from a blue collar family with no real future, Duncan (Lewis Gribben) is an ADHD dunce with a heart of gold, DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja) is an Indian immigrant with a silver spoon as an aspiring rapper from the streets, and finally, Ian Samuel Bottomley) as the shy and by the rules loner kid in over his head.
The outdoor adventure finds the group stumbling on the Duke of Edinburgh (Eddie Izard) himself—or at least an aged, dapper, Highlands man with a rifle and an aim to kill the boys. This begins the cat and mouse chase between the Duke and Duchess (Georgie Glen) and the boys. Without spoiling, the two day chase involves a lot of psychedelics, a rap concert, some ritual sacrifice scenes, inept local constables, and a lot of male adolescent bonding and growth. In fact, the plot of the movie hinges as much on a survival story as much as it does these characters becoming better versions of themselves and being a cohesive unit.
At 90 minutes, Get Duked! flies by. With the amount of fun you’re having watching it, you only wish it would last a little longer. But the perfectly paced and boldly edited film is a wonderful debut and channels some early Edgar Wright-type of confidence and low-budget swagger.
Find it here on Amazon.
MVP: All of the protagonist teens stand out on their own merits but DJ Beatroot certainly gives the most performative performance.
Highlights: The drug fueled, editing bonanza of a third act is quite the watch. There’s some very strong physical comedy happening here. The side story of the local police is endearing, if a little too Hot Fuzz-meets-Fargo.
Director: Ninian Doff
Studio: Amazon Studios // Release date: August 28, 2020