Runt: Review


Cal (Cameron Boyce) is getting bullied at school, he’s getting beaten up and accused of things he didn’t do and he feels trapped. Then he meets Cecily (Nicole Elizabeth Berger) who’s boyfriend is Vic (Aramis Knight), one of Cal’s bullies and when Vic finds out the bullying only gets worse.

Even Cal’s friend known as D-Rat Ronnie (Charlie Gillespie) thinks that Cal’s being weak for not standing up to Vic and his friends. This pushes Cal to breaking point and the results are far more extreme than anyone was expecting.

Runt is a high school psychological thriller which talks about what happens when a teenager is left alone without adult supervision and a positive outlet. However, there really is nothing realistic or heartfelt about the drama which may lead its audience to believe that the filmmakers wanted to address any real teenage problems. Instead, Runt turns into a violent thriller where a teenage boy gets pushed too far and takes his unmeasured revenge.

In terms of bullying, Runt seems to pull its punches when it shows the extent of Cal’s bullying, so when Cal does decide to take his revenge, it comes across as a reaction to a relatively mild inconvenience. To Boyce’s credit, he does play his role with all the heightened aggression and unhinged behaviour of somebody with deep mental health issues, but this is where the film fails.

What could have been a nuanced exploration of bullying, toxic masculinity and peer pressure turns into something crossed between John Wick and American Pie.

Cal’s response to his bullying also undermines the issues that real teenagers face when being bullied.  At some point the audience is even led to believe that it might make light of gun violence in schools, although it thankfully doesn’t go that far. Also, the supposed love interest between Cal and Cecily feels a little creepy and unrealistic because the audience assume that Cecily must know what Cal has been doing, but she still finds him attractive.

Worst of all though is the use of Cameron Boyce at the end of the film who sadly died before Runt was released. The film ends with a passage telling the audience about Boyce’s passion to help teenagers with their mental health, but only comes across as a way to change the tone of what the audience has just seen. Runt is woefully misjudged and crass in its execution, something audiences should avoid.

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Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.