Since my last few posts have been about academic and professional interests, I thought I would post a movie review today. PJ and I watched James Bolton’s The Graffiti Artist (2004) over the weekend. The movie’s webpage has a link to trailers and images from the film, if you want to check them out.

The Graffiti Artist The movie is about a kid named Nick, played by Ruben Bansie-Snellman (pictured here), who is a homeless graffiti artist in Portland, Oregon. In the larger sense, the movie traces the effects of the city’s efforts to cut down on such graffiti by arresting the artists and charging them with a felony. Nick is arrested early in the film and decides to skip town in order to avoid the fine and community service. He goes to Seattle, where he runs into Jesse, played by Pepper Fajans, another artist who’s from a middle class family. Where Nick has made a life for himself by stealing food and sleeping in alleys, Jesse pays for everything he wants and has his own small apartment. Nick believes in graffiti art for graffiti art’s sake; Jesse sells pictures of his art to magazines.

Despite these differences, the two boys become friends. Their friendship is tested, however, when it becomes physically intimate and the lines between friendship and romance begin to break down.

I really like how quiet this film is. There’s a kind of emotional intimacy cultivated between the characters and the audience that I found very effective. In part, this sense of quiet is literal — the score doesn’t overwhelm the film and is often quite muted and there is often little or no dialogue in the film. Indeed, it is several minutes into the film before Nick speaks his first lines. I thought this worked really well.