Mark Nistico’s feature film details a group of working class twentysomethings in a less-than-fashionable section of New Jersey. The leader of the group is 27-year-old Red, who works for his father’s construction business. Red has plenty of problems: his friends are an immature bunch with a tendency to get into barroom brawls that end with their arrests, and his dad’s business has hit a significant rough patch. When Red’s family house is threatened with foreclosure, his pals become entrepreneurial – although the Harvard Business Review would probably not sanction the legality of their operations.
Although shot in 2009, “Blue Collar Boys” still resonates with its focus of an angry and alienated microcosm of the 99% who find the American dream is evaporating before their eyes. Nistico’s cinema verite approach to the material creates a raw and visceral experience, and the film is blessed with strong performances – most notably Gabe Fazio as the beleaguered Red, Bruce Kirkpatrick as his struggling father, Kevin Interdonato as an unapologetic vulgarian and Russ Russo as a dimwitted druggie.
There might be a few aspects to the “Blue Collar Boys” style that could have been altered – the film’s surplus of foul language (especially racist and homophobic remarks) and the heavily saturated cinematography tend to distract from the genuine emotional grit. But the film scores as an honest and often disturbing portrait of contemporary working class life, and it certainly deserves to be seen.