; 400x60

click here to see our uploads list
click for new
Film Reviews, Festivale movie section, a reel life
click here for current front page

Festivale Spring 1997

Movie Poster, 187, Festivale film review
187 (One Eight Seven) Movie Poster

This is the first film preview where I have walked out part of the way through. I managed almost an hour of this classroom-war zone film. 187 is the code for homicide. It is the message a student sends his teacher (Samuel Jackson) moments (film time) before he repeatedly stabs the teacher in the school hallway.

So, did I leave because the rough language, the danger, the violence offended my delicate female sensibilities? No. I was BORED.

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.

187 was meant to be shocking and confronting. It was intended to show the brutality and the fear, and maybe it did, but frankly I found the machismo children-in-men's-bodies tiresome and more than a little bit silly. This is possibly a good representation of the characters: a population of shallow, thoughtless, meaningless adult males who spend their manhood (and I mean SPEND) on worthless posturing. What does it buy them? Fear? maybe. Respect? only from those as shallow as themselves.
Amazon.com logo
Search for:
UK's largest videos store
In Association with Amazon.co.uk
Search For:
These gang-boys are the ultimate disposable men. Like polystyrene they have no lasting value, but have the potential to be hazardous for generations. They wallow in the peculiarly ego-tistical self-pity that is expressed in quick rage, and in constant threats, and abuse and grand and minor larceny. They feel the world owes them because they feel they have no intrinsic value. Remember, they spent themselves on meaningless pursuits of power. What resources have they left themselves for becoming good and noble men? I am intrigued by the nerdy outfits these characters choose with which to scare the neighbours, but that is a purely intellectual interest in how the emperor's new clothes tale manifests itself in real life. Life; I kept wishing these people would just get over themselves and hustle out and get a life and let me eat my chocolate topped ice cream in better company.

The press kit implies that these are child-victims, the film implies that somehow the teachers are victims of the student violence and the students are victims of circumstance, and the only bad guy is the principal who is trying to run the place. My sympathy was for the girls trying to find a life and a mate in that environment, and to the teachers, as workers who are refused a safe workplace. If anything, this film reminded me of Silkwood, where my outrage was directed not at the danger of nuclear waste, but at the fact that we continue to produce something that cannot be PRODUCED safely.

Which raises the question, can American children be educated safely? The principal in 187 calls the students his clients. What BS. The community, the employers, are the clients. The students are the product, and very poor quality indeed judging from the literacy statistics.

187, with its stylish rap video cinematography and soundtrack, presents a slice of Americana as seen through the eyes of a teacher. It was written by a teacher. If we consider the statistics of violence and fear in the schools, which affects both students and teachers, then this dis-ease is spreading. And what is to stop it?

The AIDs epidemic, which is not the biggest killer, or the most virulent disease today, is dangerous to the glitterati of Hollywood and the accomplished campaigners of the homosexual community. And so people wear ribbons and raise money, and every newspaper in the world runs stories, seemingly every week. It's huge. People throw enormous sums of money at the problem. But teaching is not a glamorous profession. How many teachers does Liz Taylor know? Is there a ribbon for teachers victimized in their classrooms?

We do hear a lot of parents blaming the teachers, and even other children, for the faults of their children, and yes, one does wonder what the hell is going on in their minds when a couple of full-grown adults claim their ten year old is badly behaved because other ten year olds led it astray. Who is responsible for teaching values, and discipline, and for socializing children? And the parents only deal with a couple at a time, not a room full of these adult-children.

So, yes, it's a problem, and yes, it needs TOUGH, courageous decisions. Retrospective contraception leaps to mind, not ideologically sound, of course. Penal colonies? That's why Britain started the American colonies in the first place. Maybe that's what these kids need, a place where the work is hard and the days are long and the discipline swift. And if that sounds harsh, then you haven't considered the fact that from the outside it looks like American schools, and maybe America itself, is an out-of-control garrison town, full of yahoos with guns and no judgement, ego and no values, procreators and not parents, wardens and not teachers.

A film can be as nicely presented and well constructed as possible, but if the viewer doesn't want to visit that world, and be with those people, 120 minutes is a LONG, LONG time. For me, it was about 90 minutes too long.

Website: www.wbmovies.com/187/

Click here to look for this film at Reel.comAli Kayn
Bookmark and Share

Like us on facebook

Click here to have your say
Go to the Bookroom, Festivale's book section

Enter movie, TV show, or person
Provided by Internet Movie Database.
Just the facts:

Title: One Eight Seven (1997)
Written by: Scott Yagemann
Directed by: Kevin Reynolds
Produced by: Bruce Davey; Stephen McEveety
Edited by Stephen Semel
Director of Photography: Ericson Core

The Players: Samuel Jackson; John Heard; Kelly Rowan; Clifton González González; Tony Plana; Karina Arroyave; Lobo Sebastian
For session times of current films, use the cinema listings on the Movie links page. For scheduled release dates, see the coming attractions section.
Bookmark and Share

Like us on facebook

A Reel Life, the Festivale film sectionMovie Reviews IndexClick here to go to our links to movie sitesContact us at Festivale
Movie images, sounds, and video clips are solely owned by their respective companies.
No other uses are permitted without the prior written consent of owner.
Use of the material in violation of the foregoing may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.


Festivale Online Magazine
Celebrate everything!

ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
disclaimers | contact the editor | Festivale revision history

: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 2009 All rights reserved
Filed: 11-Nov-1997 : Last updated: : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
Entire site refreshed: Dec 2008-Feb 2009 | Site URL transferred: Jan 2005 (previously www.festivale.webcentral.com.au)

Report a bug

upcoming movie releasesIndex of movie reviewscontents of current issueA Reel Life movie section