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Blue Collar Boys (2012)
Opened: 09/14/2012 Limited
|NoHo 7||09/14/2012 - 09/20/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Inspired by true events, "Blue Collar Boys" centers on Charlie Redkin (Red) a 27 year-old construction worker set on self-improvement, as he struggles to provide for his family during the current recession. Desperate, Red's friends -- "the boys" -- pursue illegal opportunities in order to make money fast. With cash finally coming in, the boys see nothing wrong with their actions, but Red is still unhappy. Together, Red and his friends are faced with this dilemma that will test their morals, faith, and ultimately their loyalties to each other.
How far will you go to survive?
I grew up watching tough guy movies with my brothers and my dad: Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood movies like Hard Times, Dirty Harry and Death Wish, and action movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone. Looking back, those movies definitely had an influence on me. Yet when I finally began to make my own movies I found I was intrigued by much more personal and complicated films. This is the type of film I set out to make with Blue Collar Boys. From the moment I committed to this picture, I knew it had to be important. I wanted to make a film that was socially relevant and needed to be seen. Blue Collar Boys had to be a film made for the working class. It had to be a film in honor of them, one that they would watch and say, "finally someone gets it." I wanted the working class to really feel this movie down to the bone, because they'd lived it. I had no interest in sheltering the audience from what you'd really hear from the people who experience these struggles everyday. In my mind, the picture had to be authentic to that audience, and nothing else mattered. I remembered all of those action movies my father used to watch, and I realized that his peers would primarily be my audience. But how could I make an important art film and an action packed revenge movie at the same time? That was tricky to reconcile and of course the answer became the foundation for all of the artistic elements of the film.
Every element within Blue Collar Boys rests on the cusp of naturalism. From the casting, the camera movements, the color palette, the sound and the score, everything was designed through naturalism with the threshold of minimalism in mind. There isn't a sound in the movie that isn't real. I wanted every sound to be something heard around the lifestyle of the everyday workingman. The score and sound environments are filled with tools, steam shovels and the sounds of manual labor. All of the instruments used in the score are natural; nothing is synthetic. If we needed the sound of someone being slammed through a wall, I put myself through some sheet rock and we recorded it. The color palette was strictly earth tones, browns and greens that progress towards blues and grays to depict nature being replaced with industry. There is an arc to the color saturation. The colors are gradually siphoned out of the film as Red's dreams slip away. I wanted the colors to depict what I saw in the eyes of men who gave up their dreams to devote themselves to their families. Senior is one of these men; he is that glue that holds his family together and the edit mimics that stability. The pace of the film moves very slowly while Senior is a part of it. The visuals are smooth and stable with the camera on sticks or moving in subtle dolly movements, and there are a limited amount of cuts implemented within the early scenes. Consequently, with the absence of Senior's guidance, the boys' lives become chaotic, and so does the edit. The pace drastically quickens to move from relaxed to urgent and the cutting style becomes choppy. Music becomes a driving force and the perspective changes from passive to active - from watching the characters' plight to participating in it. These are just some of the choices I made to develop the style of the film and enhance its many themes.
For me the film's most potent theme is to honor the hard work of your parents by striving to improve. Accumulate knowledge from your elders and build upon the foundations created for you by the generations that paved your path. This film is a tragedy and, in my opinion, we watch the characters fail because they do not learn that lesson. Life is hard and getting angry and giving up is easy, but, if you appreciate the value of hard work you will persevere through struggle. At the film's conclusion, Red condemns his adversaries observing, "the American dream has been stolen." Yet he fails to realize that the selfless act of unending devotion to family in the face of struggle is the core of that American Dream, and it's what parents endure for their children everyday. In watching the boys fail I hope that the film stimulates a respect for that commitment to family and, furthermore, honors it.
-- Mark Nistico, Director/Writer/Producer
About the Production
Shot on a shoe-string budget in New Jersey in the winter of 2009, Blue Collar Boys had an ensemble cast and a very small but talented crew. Truly a homegrown feature, the production was self-financed with funds that were not raised, but saved from years of hard work. It took the combined efforts of two families and a group of friends to make this picture happen. The production team overcame endless struggles to make this film and everyone involved believed in it. Making this movie was an enormous undertaking and a four-year commitment by the director. It's an extremely personal project that was done for the right reasons. This film was made for the workingman, and could never have been completed without the help of hundreds of family members and friends within the blue-collar community. Together the cast and crew were a family who continuously worked hard. Just like the workingman, we broke our backs everyday and we never quit.