Anya Taylor-Joy Steals The Spotlight

Director Eoin Macken forms a cautionary tale of troubled Irish adolescence in the harrowing Here Are The Young Men. The stylish drama features a highly recognizable cast of rising young actors, starring Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Finn Cole (TV’s Animal Kingdom), Travis Fimmel (TV’s Vikings) and Dean-Charles Chapman (1917). They form the core of a dark coming-of-age film which adapts Rob Doyle’s acclaimed novel.

Set in Dublin circa 2003, Matthew (Dean-Charles Chapman) is a sensitive lad with collegiate aspirations. Friends since childhood, Jen develops a strong interest in Matthew, effervescently played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Matthew and his best friends Kearney (Finn Cole) and Rez have just graduated high school together and the whole world awaits.

Here Are The Young Men is a memorably raucous coming-of-age flick highlighted by strong performances

Under the influence of Kearney, the friends’ summer devolves into reckless shenanigans and drug abuse. They become hooligans without much direction in their lives. A tragic incident sends the trio on a downward spiral, each down their own dark path. Growing tension between the friends begins tearing them apart with violent repercussions.

The character-driven storytelling in Here Are The Young Men isn’t particularly revolutionary but the cast does such good work that it’s worth a watch. However, you’ll probably wish Eoin Macken had reined in his flashy and heavy-handed direction, which occasionally distracts from the well-developed characters and sublime performances by stars Dean-Charles Chapman and Anya Taylor-Joy.

Anya Taylor-Joy steals practically every scene she is in from her co-stars. This is an essential movie for her followers. A pity the narrative is primarily concerned with the three teenage boys and not her more grounded Jen. Dean-Charles Chapman gives a haunting, subtle portrayal of a confused teenager unsure of his place in the world. Definitely a performance that makes me think we’ll be seeing him in future roles.

Finn Cole is fine as the troubled and psychopathic Kearney, though Macken goes overboard emphasizing the character. A recurring flaw in the narrative are the excessive fantasy sequences playing out in Kearney’s head, modeled after daytime American television.

Macken isn’t subtle laying the blame for Kearney’s anti-social behavior at the feet of American culture and entertainment seeping into the Irish teenager’s head. The always intense Travis Fimmel is largely wasted showing up in these delusional fantasy scenes. The shallow, trite commentary on American influence is rather poorly done.

Here Are The Young Men is a memorably raucous coming-of-age flick highlighted by strong performances. It’s not a perfect film but few deliver its themes with such vigor and stark plotting.

Here Are the Young Men Blu-ray screen shot

Video

Here Are The Young Men’s 2.39:1 presentation exhibits strong definition and sharp detail despite occasionally exotic lighting. Supposedly finished at 4K, the transfer is from a polished digital intermediate. The movie’s cinematography doesn’t lend itself to reference quality video. It’s a stable, consistent 1080p presentation that delivers solid clarity without obvious flaws.

The main feature runs 96 minutes on a BD-25 at fairly ordinary but respectable parameters. The clean master has no visible processing and avoids compression artifacts. Here Are The Young Men receives a fairly neutral color grading with naturalistic flesh-tones. The colorful direction loves playing with the palette during certain critical scenes with deeper saturation and a variety of hues.

Audio

An energetic 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is bolstered by a wide array of carefully curated musical tunes with a rebellious, punk spirit. The discrete mix is front-driven but incorporates some immersion. The active design has a big, bold sound with excellent dynamics.

Dialogue has a habit of getting lost in the mix and a couple scenes almost by necessity require employing the subtitles. It’s a quality sonic presentation hampered by slightly recessed dialogue.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font, inside the scope presentation. Secondary audio includes a superfluous 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack.

Extras

Outside of trailers, Well Go USA serves up no special features for Here Are The Young Men. A glossy slipcover replicating the cover art is available.

Here Are The Young Men Trailer (01:45 in HD)

Well Go USA Trailers (05:17 in HD) – Trailers for The Paper Tigers and Synchronic play before the main menu and are also available from the menu.

Better Days Trailer (01:26 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Here Are the Young Men
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Irish teenagers, adrift after graduating high school, fall into troubling behavior in this stylish and well-acted coming-of-age film.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 37 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: