This in-your-face glance at Paris's underground punk community has a surfeit of energy but lacks a compelling reason to exist.
French writer-director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire impressed with his hyper-intense 2008 feature, Johnny Mad Dog, which delved headlong into the vibrant and violent world of African child soldiers. With this new film, Punk, he pretty makes the exact same movie, this time displacing his rowdy ensemble from Africa and landing them in the scuzzy contemporary punk scene of the high-rise desert that is the Parisian suburbs.
Drawing a suitably combustible performance from snarling newcomer Paul Bartel, Sauvaire frames his film as an extended flashback from the POV of Paul (Bartel), a latch-key punk rocker who channels his righteous familial fury through the various extra circular activities. One minute he's tussling with his annoying mother (Béatrice Dalle), the next he furiously slam-dancing at some grimy punk club as his fin-haired pals smoke, drink and fuck in public.
And that's pretty much it really. Spice in the odd street dust-up with the skins and Paul attempting to reconnect with his estranged father, and there's little here of genuine substance. Sauvaire ramps what he has got up to fever pitch through the bass-shattering sound design and his sweat-dappled close-up photography.
The heavy stylisation of the material in the end serves to distance rather than connect you with his confused hero, and though the film offers a fresh and rather blunt view of a little-seen counter cultural community, it lacks any real narrative thrust which would make you want to stay in this place.