Honestly, the thing that surprised me the most about Twelve is that it's not based on a Bret Easton Ellis novel. It reminded me way too much of The Informers, which is in the running as the absolute worst flick I suffered through in 2010...and remember, this is from a guy who had to review Marmaduke. The Informers and Twelve both have pretty much the same plot and structure: young, rich, pretty white people get bored being so damned young, rich, and pretty, so they destroy themselves with drugs and sex. A bunch of different plot lines dangle around for an hour and a half, and by the end, pretty much everyone's fucked. Fade to black. Roll credits. The big differences here...? One, no nekkid Amber Heard. No Amber Heard, period, actually. Two, Twelve rolls the clock back to high school, so most of the kids really do look like sixteen or seventeen year olds. Normally I'd give a thumbs-up to that, although these actors look so underage that the continual sight of them wearing little-to-nothing seems awfully creepy.
I guess I can get into the plot, not that it
Ack. There's nothing even a little bit redeeming about Twelve. The driving force of the plot is that these kids are rich and bored, and...well, watching bored people tends to be kinda boring itself. Twelve goes so overboard with narration that it's practically like watching a book-on-tape. Everything -- every emotion, every beat -- is hyper-overexplained. Too many of the actors gnaw on the scenery whenever the camera's aimed their way, and they also break out into poses as if this is a promo for an all-new Gossip Girl at 9/8 central, only on The CW. Director Joel Schumacher's favorite visual device -- aside from leering at his disturbingly young cast's topless and/or nipply bodies, I mean -- is setting the flashbacks against vast expanses of nothing. It'll be an actor or two, maybe a single prop, and an otherwise solid white or black background. Subtlety isn't so much the movie's strong point, so you get stuff like a mostly-clean-cut straight A student doping herself up on a pile of teddy bears. Get it? The bears represent her innocence, and she's...agh. Not writing the rest. Even typing that out made me die a little inside. Oh, and the same virginal white girl needs a hit, so she screws a big, scary black dude for drugs. Kinda shocked me when I saw Jennifer Connelly do the same thing in Requiem for a Dream more than ten years ago. Now...? Not so much. The movie also has a bad habit of introducing things without paying 'em off. Why spend so much time showing White Mike staring plaintively off rooftops if he's not gonna jump? Why give a nutjob a fuckin' samurai sword if he doesn't do anything with it? Blah. Twelve does score a quick burst of energy at the end during its batshit insane finale where all these plot points mash together. At least then it's howlingly bad rather than dreary, dull, and ham-fistedly melodramatic. Is it worth suffering through the rest of this dreck to get there? Nope.
Clearly Fox knew they'd come up a-cropper with this trainwreck. Twelve was laughed out of Sundance last year and probably didn't even cover its catering budget when it tanked in limited release, not even cracking the $200K mark. Fox didn't bother to invest a dime more than it had to into this Blu-ray disc, and there's literally not so much as a theatrical trailer for the flick on here. But yeah, you get where I'm going with all this. Skip It.
Twelve looks really underwhelming too. Clarity and detail are both immediately identifiable as high definition but fall below average for a day-and-date release. For a movie that's so desperate to be grim and gritty, I'm kinda surprised that the texture is so soft and silky smooth. Twelve was shot digitally, so it's not as if there's any film grain to accentuate, but I still would've thought something along those lines would be tossed on after the fact. The grimy palette looks bland but is probably representative of the way Twelve looked in theaters. I couldn't spot any hiccups in the compression or anything, although I did notice some edge enhancement during areas of extremely high contrast, and its digital photography means there obviously aren't any nicks or speckling in the source. This Blu-ray disc is a step up over anything DVD could spit out, but I can't say there's a single shot in the movie that impressed me, and just about every complaint I've read about the Red One camera is showcased front and center throughout Twelve.
With no extras and not even a second audio track, Twelve fits on a single layer Blu-ray disc with plenty of room to spare. The image is very lightly letterboxed to preserve its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and the video's been encoded with AVC.
There aren't any dubs or alternate soundtracks. Subtitles are limited to English (SDH), Spanish, and French.
Um, nothing. Not even a trailer.
The Final Word
Nope. Skip It.