Emo Haze: Our Review of ‘Anthem of a Teenage Prophet’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - November 03, 2019
Emo Haze: Our Review of ‘Anthem of a Teenage Prophet’

Luke Hunter (Dominic Monaghan) is not your typical teenager and there are two reasons for why that is. The first is that he has the same hair as Jimbo from The Simpsons. This might be an attempt to make Monaghan look younger. But it just makes it seem like Robin Hays’ Anthem of a Teenage Prophet has an archaic view of what teenagers look like. Even the hip hop soundtrack around him is a strange choice since most of the actors are white.

The second reason has more complexities. While high on pot, Luke had visions of either him or one of his friends dying, which came true for his friend Stan (Alex MacNicoll). Prophet, then, is about how he tries to return to normalcy after getting this gift. This gift has a silver lining though, as it strengthens one of his existing familial relationships and helps him forge new ones. The first is between him and his Stan’s girlfriend Faith (Peyton List) and the second is between him and his mother (Juliette Lewis).

Because  Anthem of a Teenage Prophet has teens in it, it doesn’t focus a lot on his mother, which is a disservice to Juliette Lewis who deserves better. There’s more here on Luke’s relationship with Faith.  But let’s go back to the title, which promises of sweeping emotion between the two. Or at least it could frame Luke’s character arc with a stronger flair. Anthem of a Teenage Prophet isn’t really anthem like, playing out more like an unpalatable emo haze. It should have had at least the wit or ambition that other recent teen features have.

There’s a third relationship here that Hays fumbles. A third wheel in Luke’s will they or won’t they friendship is Fang (Grayson Gabriel) which, what a stupid name. They go and run into each other in concerts and stay in motels because of roadblocks. Scenarios like this set up the fact that Fang has a secret which make him mope around. Gabriel is capable at these scenes, especially in revealing that, he’s gay. But watching Prophet treat homosexuality as a secret is exhausting.

The premise surrounding Luke’s prophetic visions and his relationships have enough screen time. Too bad Prophet decides to pepper its running time watching him brood shirtless or skate all over the empty streets of his Great Lakes town. Monaghan can capably do subtle work as he did in Shameless or go crazy as a Joker, but he doesn’t get that opportunity here. He can only do so much to elevate Hays’ dour adaptation of Joanne Proulx’s novel.

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet plays every night at the Carlton branch of Imagine Cinemas.

  • Release Date: 11/1/2019
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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