Like many "issue films," this exploration of bullying and violence lacks subtlety and writer/director KT Curran is so close to the material there is no perspective. It's IN YOUR FACE. A raft of young actors range from excellent to overwrought. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but that's no excuse to give in to them on film. There are the mean girls and the mean jock, and the mean gang... I got it, but Curran continues to hit me over the head with it. Russel T. Davies is one of my favorite screenwriters. His trademark style is writing demonstrative scripts that don't require a ton of dialogue to describe what's going on. His guiding motto is "show it, don't say it." He figures out how interactions between characters telegraph the message, even if they're talking about a totally different topic. Curran's film lacks such a relationship between characters. Every incidence of bullying is accompanied by mouthy put-downs. There is not a single moment of physical contact that isn't overlaid with dialogue. The biggest problem with such a verbose approach is that everyone begins to sound alike. All of the two-dimensional mean kids sound alike. All of the bullied kids retreat into submission. Then there are the adult characters. They don't seem reined-in, which is a director's job. The emotions are out-sized for the moments, almost as if these actors are auditioning and not acting as part of the director's vision. In the end, the film is very well-intentioned, but exhausting. A few moments that could have had emotional resonance are steamrolled by non-stop dialogue. There is no real "peak" in energy, because every bit of action is filmed so deliberately and the camera rarely steps back. It just comes off as shrill and demanding of attention, instead of intriguing and enticing.