There's something in the ether of popular culture called the 'uncanny valley' that, as I
understand it, is when a robot/cgi creature/something that isn't quite human looks so
human that it becomes kind of creepy. Or something like that. There's a bit of that going
on in 'Dirty Books'; David (Noah Bailey) is a boy- he looks like one, dresses like one and
attends school as boys tend to. Heck, he even surveys 'Gentlemen's Magazines' like one.
Except, and this is crucial, he doesn't act like one. At all. Instead, with the steely glare of a
megalomaniacal middle-aged newshound, he shuffles around the corridors of his school
conspiring, pranking and scheming his way to glory.
David learns that his principal (Timothy J Cox) is closing the newspaper that he edits and is
turning it into a blog as part of a cost cutting exercise. He doesn't take the news well, as
people with an overbalance of hormones tend not to when they don't get what they want.
Frustrated, he turns to a friend for advice, who jokingly suggests that he invent the news in
order to save the paper. David takes it at face value, engaging in a series of headline making
pranks that eventually get him suspended.
Dirty Books is concerned with what happens when a heady mix of desired fame and ego
start to get in the way of pure reporting and 'real' news. How can you maintain objectivity
when you are the news? And are old technology or dated methods worth saving at all
The soundtrack is impeccable and one gets the feeling that it is aiming for a ‘Napoleon
Dynamite’ vibe, without quite hitting the right beats but, even half-way to excellence is
pretty damn good. It’s a real charmer- print that.
Written by Chris Whyte