Pump Up The Volume
(Allan Moyle; 1990)

Pump Up The Volume Poster

Starring: Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis (+ Seth Green)

[Harry; "Talk hard"] [Harry; "how Harry was born"]

This film marks the end of an era as the views expressed in the film show the change between the eighties films morals and those taken up in the nineties.

Poetry Lady

Christian Slater at his best. By day he is a painfully shy new kid in a small Arizona town. By night he is the cynical, uncensored DJ of a pirate radio station - Hard Harry. Whilst he is firing up the other kids imaginations there are other issues at stake. His dad is part of the very system he is against. There is suicide which he feels partly responsible for and just why is the evil Headmistress expelling so many students? A great film about free speech, the disenchanted youth of late eighties/early nineties America and school corruption. It is a good film that'll make you laugh, cheer and think.

Okay so down to the nitty gritty. Christian Slater is the pirate DJ known as Happy Harry Hard-On, so named as it uses the same initials as the school he attends - Hugo Humphrey High. He doesn't just play music he likes though, he also gets hold of confidential school files, makes laughing stocks out of the teachers and responds to letters he is sent, along with a healthy dose of purial masterbation humour. Hey if that wasn't there how could he justify the name Hard Harry? Christian Slater's portrayal is excellent. You can totally believe in the two seemingly opposite sides of his character. The ego-maniac DJ by night and the shy, quiet nerdy school kid by day. He is also blessed with a talented supporting cast. They all portray teen angst believably and the film doesn't descend into cliche.

Seth Green

As the broadcasts continue more and more kids start listening and more of Harry's sayings are daubed across the school. The most famous being 'So Be It'. The teachers and local community are outraged as more kids start acting delinquant or suicidal and rather than looking inwards towards their own parenting skills or trying to face up to any other problems, they find it far easier to just blame it on Harry. They scapegoat him into being the be all and end all source of all the problems the children have. Then eventually the police and feds are involved and we get to see how Harry reacts when not only the police but also a fellow student Nora (Samantha Mathis) start to close in.

With an intelligent ending which doesn't feel like a cop-out this film, rather than supplying all the answers, leaves you questioning the themes raised and also leaves you invigorated knowing you have just watched an amazing piece of cinema. Stop reading this review and go out and rent/buy it now. And when you do keep an eye out for an upcoming teen actor in a very early (and very mulleted role) - Seth Green.

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