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12 O’Clock Boys

Documentary . Biography . Crime

Pug, a wisecracking 13 year old living on a dangerous Westside block, has one goal in mind: to join The Twelve O'Clock Boys; the notorious urban dirt-bike gang of Baltimore. Converging from all parts of the inner city, they invade the streets and clash with police, who are forbidden to chase the bikes for fear of endangering the public. When Pug's older brother dies suddenly, he looks to the pack for mentorship, spurred by their dangerous lifestyle. Pug's story is coupled with unprecedented, action-packed coverage of the riders in their element. The film presents the pivotal years of change in a boy's life growing up in one of the most dangerous and economically depressed cities in the US.

Actors: Coco , Pug , Steven
Directors: Lotfy Nathan
Country: USA
Release: 2014-01-31
More Info:
  • Eric Kohn

    Nathan never condescends to Pug or his cohorts, instead smartly allowing their brazen maneuvers to run the show.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Ian Buckwalter

    Nathan's film gets at a difficult and sobering fact: Pug's world is one that often rewards only hard detachment and distrust. That's a cultural tradition perhaps even more entrenched than the dirt bikes, and one from which it's more difficult to find release.

    NPR Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    As reticent as Nathan is to cast explicit judgment, the film shows the tragic impasse between a street culture that’s reckless and provocative, and a police force that exacerbates the problem with heavy-handed tactics.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Amy Nicholson

    What lingers in Nathan's documentary isn't the swaggering trails of diesel fumes. It's the sadness of watching Pug narrow his options.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    Using Baltimore’s dirt-bike groups as its entry point, the film offers a remarkable grassroots look at how the system is broken at the inner-city level.

    Variety Full Review
  • Kimber Myers

    12 O’Clock Boys is an exciting, beautifully shot look at a subculture through the eyes of one of its most devoted admirers.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    It’s to Nathan’s credit that he doesn’t negate the allure of dirt-bike riding as an escape hatch from inner-city woes.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Apart from its sociological interest, though, Nathan's film offers the pleasure of some really impressive stunt driving.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Mike D'Angelo

    At just 75 minutes, the movie doesn’t wear out its welcome, though its shapelessness can be frustrating; it ends abruptly, on a moment that could be interpreted as a triumph or as a profound loss, and it doesn’t seem to care much what one concludes.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kenji Fujishima

    It constantly divides itself between fulfilling the conventions of the informational talking-heads documentary and aiming for a more poetically impressionistic quality.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Nicolas Rapold

    12 O’Clock Boys packs more life into its 72 minutes than many longer documentaries do.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    As a depiction of extralegal activity, 12 O’Clock Boys is eye-opening but sometimes needlessly ambiguous.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    12 O'Clock Boys is reminiscent of the Ross brothers' far more lyrically shot 2012 film "Tchoupitoulas," which tagged along with three New Orleans boys for a night of exploration and boundary-testing in the French Quarter. The setting is different in Nathan's film, and Nathan doesn't commit as fully as the Rosses did to visual artistry. But there are thematic similarities, to be sure.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Gary Goldstein

    The young filmmaker rarely digs beneath the harsh environment's many fraught surfaces. He simply lets his cameras be his guide.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Frank Scheck

    The film, which feels attenuated despite its brief running time, doesn’t dig deep enough to provide more than an impressionistic portrait.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Coco’s angry frustration, Pug’s bruised confusion, and the police helicopters constantly hovering above the defiant bikers say enough.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    There’s bleakness in the beauty: What begins as a personal coming-of-age story ends as a tragic tale of a community’s stunted adolescence.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Tom Huddleston

    A little too rough around the edges to fully engage.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Walter Addiego

    Taking a stand would have made the film stronger, and might even have been helpful to young Pug and his peers.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Godfrey Cheshire

    A thin, problematic and amateurishly-made documentary, 12 O'Clock Boys plays like two films awkwardly grafted together. Full Review
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