Review by Camden Ferrell
Get Duked! is the feature debut of writer/director Ninian Doff. It premiered (under the title Boyz in the Wood) at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival where it won the Midnighters Audience Award before being acquired by Amazon Studios. This is one of the most enjoyable and refreshing comedies in years, and it’s one that is elevated by its witty dialogue and the cast’s consistent chemistry.
This film follows four boys on a camping trip who are attempting to earn their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Among these boys are aspiring rapper, DJ Beatroot, his two delinquent friends, Dean and Duncan, and the more sheltered and moralistic Ian. While on their trip, they find themselves being hunted by a mysterious man who they try and escape. This is a fun movie that really thrives off of its eccentric characters and outlandish premise.
Doff’s script is very fast-paced and witty from the start, and it’s a style that fits the movie perfectly. He is able to combine juvenile humor with more small-town humor and put his own spin on it with quirky gags and hilarious one-liners. It’s an impressive debut screenplay that really gives the film the characteristics for which it will be remembered.
The acting in this movie is also very strong throughout. While it is an ensemble effort, I believe most of the praise should go toward Viraj Juneja who plays the always funny DJ Beatroot. It’s a hilarious role that he embodies perfectly, and he never fails to add hilarity to any scene. Without a doubt, his performance will be the most memorable, and it warrants repeat viewings. The movie also features some great performances from Samuel Bottomley, Rian Gordon, and Lewis Gribben.
The movie is full of fun musical sequences that set it apart from the rest of the genre. Doff’s musical directing background gets utilized in this movie and creates some energetic, memorable, and downright comical musical numbers. It’s these unapologetically off the wall and hallucinogenic moments that prove Doff is a director with which to be reckoned.
The movie also functions as a satire of generational differences and classism. Some of these themes can be a little on the nose and distract from the laughs, but it’s a forgivable shortcoming. It does manage to say something about the abilities and intelligence of those who are deemed delinquent by society, and it’s a cliché but sweet message about the power of teamwork and cooperation.
There will not be many movies that are as unafraid to be original as this one. Doff confidently leads his quirky indie film into territory that is daring but absolutely entertaining. Not every joke lands perfectly, but it has a fervent spirit that persists to the end. This movie is full of great jokes and one absolutely insane payoff that make this 87 minute film worth the watch.
Get Duked! is the perfect movie to watch at home. It’s light-hearted, shocking, and hilarious. It features some great chemistry from its ensemble, and it’s a phenomenal debut from Doff who definitely has a bright future ahead of him.
Get Duked! premieres on Amazon Prime August 28.