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Anthem of a Teenage Prophet review

A downbeat and miserable look at life as an American teenager.

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet
Credit: SP Releasing

Luke’s (Cameron Monaghan) life is turned upside when he accurately predicts the death of his best friend Stan (Alex MacNicoll). The teenager is dubbed ‘The Prophet of Death’ by his classmates and is treated like an outcast for his ability. As his premonitions keep on coming, Luke tries to deal with the treatment of those around him while inching closer to Stan’s girlfriend Faith (Peyton List) and facing up to the reality of his uncontrollable ability.

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet is based on the novel by Joanne Proulx and it aims to bring something a little different to the teenage genre. With Gotham and Shameless star Cameron Monaghan in the lead role (wearing a very unconvincing wig), the film is geared up to hit the mark with its intended audience. Anthem of a Teenage Prophet paints a much gloomier portrayal of life as a teenager in America and it’s certainly not packed with the bright colours and laughter than many teen dramas focus on.

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet

Credit: SP Releasing

The initial premise is one that will draw you in and it’s pretty interesting. Luke’s premonitions suggest that the film has a supernatural element but frustratingly it turns out to be more a convenient plot device than anything else. The reason behind Luke’s disturbing and accurate premonitions isn’t really delved into so you’re just expected to take them at face value. Add to that a complete lack of levity and watching Anthem of a Teenage Prophet is quite a downbeat and miserable experience.

Cameron Monaghan, as he always is, is superb here as Luke but he the character isn’t written in a way that allows him to use his best assets. In the role he’s required to do little more than show angst and that’s a real shame. Peyton List is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as Faith but like Monaghan her character is drawn too thinly, while Juliette Lewis actually makes more of her character, Luke’s mother Mary, than is necessary but she brings som gravitas to the film.

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet

Credit: SP Releasing

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet has its sights set on connecting with a disconnected generation and it’ll probably find a willing audience. The film, for me, doesn’t have a broad enough appeal to move beyond the cult status it could well achieve. There isn’t a satisfactory enough resolution to the film’s main crux and it’s all a little too heavy and depressing to fully engage you. I can’t fault the performances of any of the cast but I think the story isn’t realised enough to make a truly compelling and entertaining film.

Cast: Cameron Monaghan, Grayson Gabriel, Peyton List, Juliette Lewis, Alex MacNicoll Director: Robin Hays Writers: Joshua Close, Andy Matic, Elisha Matic (screenplay), Joanne Proulx (novel) Certificate: Unrated Duration: 99 mins Released by: SP Releasing Release date: 11th January (cinema and on-demand)

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