School on Fire

School on Fire ★★★★

So many satisfying reversals of fortune in this—a classroom bully catches a beatdown in class, a two-timing cad catches a beatdown from two girls in a disco, a pimp gets his head busted with crockery, a smug mafioso attacked by a schoolteacher in the street, a guy attacked by a gang suddenly pulls a hunting knife and goes full Michael Meyers.

I was strongly reminded of Class of 1984 while watching, and similar to previous Collab selection Tenement, it effectively presents a bleak vision of a crumbling society ready to burn (the title is not figurative). All social ties and any kind of mooring to civilized behavior are rapidly becoming frayed; I mean, you know things are getting out of hand when your teacher and the schoolgirl next door are getting into the gang war. One thing that surprised me was the eclecticism of the soundtrack: goth rock, Chinese folk rock, bagpipes? A synthy nighttime escape on a motorcycle is one of the easiest ways to curry my favor. An epic finale setpiece and a good bit where some guys casually play cards and provide commentary as gangsters kill each other in a dancehall. River City Ransom: The Movie is quite the crazy time.