An anarchic, hip-hop inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman.
Watching kids in danger shouldn’t be fun, yet Gremlins, The Goonies, The Monster Squad, Super 8, many others, disagree with that statement, as we’ve gotten some great entertainment that just so happen to deal with such a thing.
Trying to add another movie to that list is director Ninian Dorff with his debut Get Duked!, a dark comedy which sees 4 young teenagers trying to wi1n the Duke of Edinburgh Award – a kind of boy scout expedition – in the Scottish Highlands only to be hunted by a mysterious masked man.
Although his first feature film, the filmmaker has worked for several years in videos for bands such as The Chemical Brothers, Royal Blood and the hip hop duo Run the Jewels, where his style is known as inventive and bizarre. Doff looked to include these experiences by making use of snappy music video editing techniques and a hip hop soundtrack.
After opening in several film festivals to critical acclaim in 2019, Amazon Studios purchased the rights, releasing it in its streaming platform Amazon Prime Video on August 28th, 2020. Now, only time will tell whether Get Duked! actually joins the pantheon of excellent movies where the lives of young ones are put in mortal danger for our entertainment.
In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at…
ATTACK OF THE TRAINSPOTTING FUZZ
From the start, Get Duked! is a hilariously dark comedy which can’t help come across as an interesting mix between three excellent cult films: Attack of the Block (teenagers trapped in a single setting while being hunted), Trainspotting (Scottish setting) and Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright style of humor).
But rather than seem unoriginal, Doff understands what worked in those films – mainly their style and setting – and applies it here to his advantage while also giving his own manic, music video-like twist to deliver a funny, chaotic and thrilling movie that has all the makings of a future cult film, just like those which inspired it.
BOYZ IN THE WILD
Casting children and teenagers in film is always a tricky proposition as many tend to overact or underact. Here, it proved to be even more vital as we follow the 4 teenagers from minute one, rarely losing sight of them for the rest of its short runtime.
Thankfully the group comprised of newcomers Viraj Juneja, Lewis Gribben, Samuel Bottomley and Rian Gordon are excellent, with believable chemistry, making the audience identify with their friendship that much more, as well as possessing great comedic timing. Additionally, three of them play “dumb” so naturally – something which always looks deceptively easy – yet remain completely endearing even when it shouldn’t.
Hopefully Get Duked! is a springboard and pathway to more success and work for these talented young men just as it proved to be for actors such as John Boyega (Attack of the Block), Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) and Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting).
THE HIGH LANDS
One trick to keep in mind when you want your film to look more expensive is to make sure you have great sets and a talented Director of Photography. Luckily, the world is full of great – and mostly free – natural places like Scotland.
Doff and his DP Patrick Meller squeeze every inch of the gorgeous locations in the Scottish Highlands in order to get some fantastic shots while complimenting that later on in the film, adding in some unique and psychedelic visual elements when our protagonists find themselves under the influences of strong drugs for some particularly funny and trippy scenes.
Because of the young filmmakers work with hip hop artists, and wanting to bypass a typical horror score, they sought to have a soundtrack which reflected the characters interest in music, working with Edinburgh based producer and rapper Bobby Perman, aka S-Type, who wrote 11 songs for the film, one of them a catchy rap song with the same title as the movie (sadly unavailable at the time of this writing).
Also using his connections, Doff was able to license music from some of the artists he had already worked with such as Danny Brown and Run The Jewels for a fitting sound that helps differentiate the film from its brethren in the genre.
- Ain’t It Funny – Danny Brown
- Legend Has It – Run The Jewels
I’ve never seen a murder! I’m home schooled!
How can you get lost in a place with no corners?
- Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) is the executive producer and even showed up for a day of filming.
- The term “Get Duked” actually means to receive a punch or hit
- Originally titled Boyz In The Woods as an homage to John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood(1991), it was replaced for Get Duked! after Singleton passed away in 2019.
- The Making of Get Duked!