MovieChat Forums > Shank (2009) Discussion > It was so so so so bad

It was so so so so bad

No, three "so's" were not enough. I'm not trying to be funny or hyperbolic. I mean that quite literally. I was traumatized. Five minutes before the movie ended I was wishing I could have the last hour and a half of my life back. I just finished watching it. If I could just have made a different decision at the start I wouldn't feel so bad now.


Honestly I don't even know where to begin to explain my volatile response. I think I’ll start at...

1) bad British rap.

2) kind of annoying film quality. By this I mean the cameras that they used created a low quality picture to look at. This I usually overlook if the content of the film is interesting enough. In this case, it was interesting but unsatisfying.

3) the French guy was really skinny. Like sickly skinny. Maybe that’s just me, but I get really squeamish when I see people whose bodies look like they have an eating disorder. Anyway, this made him pretty not nice to look at. I didn't really want the main guy Cal to end up with someone I wasn't in love with as well. I would have preferred that Olivier just be Cal's introduction into a world and a life wherein he could accept himself as he was. Which brings me to point number

4) I wanted Cal to be with his best friend. (yes I know what you’re thinking "of course, we all indulged in that fantasy for a hot second") But I wanted it not just because he’s a far cry nicer to look at than the alternative. Mostly I was hoping they’ld find a way to be together because they were best friends. I like the idea of our hero being with someone who he understands and who understands him. I want a connection that goes deeper than sex or orientation. After the scene where Cal and Olivier fight my thought was Olivier doesn't understand him. They don't laugh together over stupid things, or watch movies together, or do anything besides have sex and some therapeutic "gay is ok" type discussions. And I mean really, all those long longing looks between Cal and Jonno, the "blow-back", the excessive display of abs--I was teased for over an hour into wanting them to be together only to have it end with

5) a seriously violent display of aggression.(that whole phrase is redundant, but you get what I’m saying about that scene, right?) I think I could have gone my whole life without seeing:

* A man bleeding from the butt after being raped by his best friend.
* Broken glass being ground into someone’s face.
* I already mentioned the naked Olivier.
* Multiple people throwing up.
* Multiple meaningless sexual encounters

And I know, realistically speaking that I can't watch anything if I don't expect to see one of things or worse happening. I'm saying I didn't need to see them all happen in one film repeatedly from beginning to end. I don't care if that’s real life; at the end of the day I like my movies to be entertaining. And by entertaining I mean thought provoking, hopeful, somewhat satisfying… one of these.

6) It felt to me as though I was basically led by the hand into nursing an attraction and attachment to Jonno and in the end where does he end up? He loses a best friend and a good chunk of his humanity and he’s probably going to spend the rest of his life acting out his self-hatred.

(big sigh) I’m ranting. I would be surprised if any word of what I wrote made sound sense. I shouldn’t come straight from a movie reeling with upset emotions and publish my thoughts for the world to see. True. Thank God for anonymity.

Final answer: I didn’t like the movie at all. I think it used a gimmick (gay gang member) threw in some crazy violent scenarios and full frontal nudity and managed to say little if anything of substance or show anything particularly beautiful in the in-between. It made me sad and offered too little relief. Tell me what you think. Explain to me all the ways I’m wrong.


ummm quite a rant. There is hope at the end of the movie - go back and look for it!

It is a beautiful film of social realism.

Camera/picture quality was fine - they had clearly degraded image for purpose of style.

Nothing wrong with the music at all.

I'll grant you chemistry between Olivier and Cal not great and it strains the performances.

Why did you keep watching if you didn't like it?

It has perfect cinematic ambition, the film language is evidently brave and clever.

Each to their'll be please to hear there's a sequel shooting with the two leads apparently this fall!


a sequel! (squeals in delight) haha... I'll probably watch it. no really, i mean it.

I finished the last one because I thought it would turn out better. I liked Cal, I wanted to see good things happen for him. I didn't see the rape coming. Although I sort of understand that the only way out of these situations is to leave everything and everyone behind. And Maybe Cal needed a push to get him to leave.

Uh yea, to each his own about the music. Particularly, rap seamed the cliche choice which made it uninteresting in my book.

I fully expected Cal to die in the end. I didn’t see a way out. It seemed weird that during the final confrontation the tough girl started crying in front of everyone and let him go. I'm not an expert but I don't think that's how gangs work, with the crying and letting people walk away with their gay boyfriends. That sort of killed the social realism for me.

Ok so FINE, it wasn't strictly a bad movie with a terrible story. (take away a few so's) But it didn't show me anything I would ever want to see or experience again.

And yes, “ambitious” is the word for it. I wouldn't even know where to begin to make a movie people would enjoy watching. But I know when I see something I like. "Beautiful" in all the ways it could be meant, is a stretch.


mostly agree with OP. especially lack of chemistry between cal and olivier


If you think THIS was "so bad" then you obviously haven't seen many gay-themed films. "Shank" is one of the only ones that i could watch without laughing or being disgusted.

1) Bad british rap? Music taste is relative, and obviously the music was as DIY and low budget as the rest of the production.
2)The films low-quality simply comes from the fact that it was shot on DV, with a very small budget, with a filmmaker who was only 21 at the time; he think they did a nice job with the equipment they had to work with; the film looks very gritty and realistic because of it.
3)The French guy WAS really skinny, and not my idea of physically beautiful either; but this isn't a porn film, or a beauty contest; it's a movie telling a story. i mean, is Jack Nicholson beautiful? not really, but you would still watch one of his movies, wouldn't you?
4)You wanted Cal to be with his best friend? So make your own film. Those two didn't seem to be that close anyway; they got high and drunk together, and 10 minutes into the film jonno was trying to murder Cal! Again, that would have been "hot," but this isn't a porn film.
5)too violent for you? I thought seeing realistic violence in a film like this was a welcome change. This movie was directed by a 21 year old who seems to know a bit about the lifestyle; it wasn't directed by some 50 year old queen who gets nauseous at the sight of blood. Finally a gay-themed film with some balls.
6)What? Did we watch the same thing? In the end he escapes the gabg life and goes omewhere else to live the way he wants to. I guess you wanted to stick around and wait for his "best friend" to knife him again?
You asked someone to explain how you are are wrong about this film. i really think you need to look at it again. aren't you sick of gay movies that have nothing but drag queens and muscle boys having sex and dancing in gay clubs? do we really need more of that garbage perpetuating the image of gays as shallow, coke snorting, eyeliner wearing sex addicts with nothing on their minds but getting a cock up their ass? Give me a break.

"IMdB; where 14 year olds can act like jaded 40 year old critics...'




I still didn't like it


Ok, i get really didn't like it. I'm curious though, what films of this genre did you like? I'm always looking for quality films that deal with this subject, but have rarely found anything worth remembering. i'm guessing you like more polished films, with higher budgets and more proffesional production standards. what can you recommend?

"IMdB; where 14 year olds can act like jaded 40 year old critics...'


oOo... I've seen a lot. and I like each for different reasons. off the top of my head:

1. Borstal Boy
2. Burnt Money
3. Get Real
4 Were the World Mine (ok, so I feel ridiculous including this but musicals are my guilty can't be helped)
5. The War Boys
6. Private Romeo
7. The Broken Hearts Club
8. From Beginning to End (I did not like this movie as a whole but *certain scenes* were really nice)
9. Soldier's Girl
10. Eternal Summer
11. Boy Culture

subsequently I like short films. They can maximize on a small budget.

1. 13 or So Minutes
2. Starcrossed
3. Running Without Sound

Other movies I don't really care for but others seem to LOVE:

1. Shelter
2. Latter Days
3. Summer Storm
4. Beautiful Thing


"Burnt Money" really is a great film. Have you seen the "Broken Sky" trilogy from Julian Hernandez? IMO those films are among the only gay-themed films that can actually be called art. I also recommend "O Fantasma" from Portugal, and "Clandestinos."

"IMdB; where 14 year olds can act like jaded 40 year old critics...'