Fit-Boy (William Pearson) is a foul-mouthed, quirk-tempered prick; always on the verge of violence, picking fights, talking s**t, lusting after his friends’ women and generally in a predatory state of drugged or drunken disarray. He’s the guy who everyone is still friends with because they’ve known him all their life, but also the guy that nobody wants to be around. Which means he’s always around, and always up to no good, and no one knows just how bad it is about to get.
Bathed in accented vernacular, almost every sentence punctuated with some version of “geezer,” “bird,” “f**k” or “c**t,” Glen Pearson’s feature film, Fit-Boy, has a crude rhythm to it, often as little happens beyond friends bullshitting amongst one another, getting high, getting drunk or getting laid. It’s all seemingly meaningless routine and posturing prattle until elements of the plot come together to re-frame what we’ve seen before. Essentially, by the end of the film, while we may’ve found Fit-Boy aimless and insufferable throughout, we find him downright evil when his very real agenda is revealed.
To that end, the film utilizes a slower pace, immersing the audience in the routine and world of Fit-Boy and company. You could easily bring this film to a shorter running time by limiting the exposure therapy early on, and getting the narrative momentum ramped up sooner (the first hint that something more malevolent might be going on shows up near the forty minute mark), but the film also doesn’t suffer terribly for letting itself breathe more. Instead, by letting the audience into the story the way the film does, it treats the viewer like another a friend, sitting off to the side and observing Fit-Boy’s slow-motion trainwreck.
Due to that pacing and immersion of audience, Fit-Boy’s eventual Hell-worthy descent sneaks up on you somewhat. Again, he’s been a prick from the jump, but like a frog in a pot of water, you don’t notice someone turned the heat up to boil until it is too late. By the time certain truths are revealed (though they are hinted at), you find yourself witness to a pretty horrible string of events that are worse than what you might’ve earlier imagined Fit-Boy was capable of doing. In other words, it was s**t all along, but you don’t know how deep it was until you watch everyone try to get out of it while Fit-Boy adds to the pile.
On the filmmaking side of things, there’s a rawness to the image that works with the crudeness of the characters. Likewise the audio can be rough in spots, but considering how much is filmed in particularly noisy environs, it’s impressive that anything sounds good, or at least tolerable, in some sequences. So the film lacks a certain amount of polish, but it doesn’t suffer for it; everything works together to deliver an uncomfortably gritty experience.
Overall, Fit-Boy is a strong film, but it’s also not a pleasant one. Things get pretty dark by the end, and the getting there isn’t always that wonderful a time either. Still, there’s something to be said for creating such a world and committing to delivering a character as damaged and depraved as Fit-Boy. If Begbie from Trainspotting and Fit-Boy were in the same room together, they’d either rip each other’s guts out in an effort to be the biggest a*****e in the room or, worst of all, they’d become friends, and we’d all be doomed.
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