Violence lurks in nearly every scene of Slovenia director Darko Stante’s “Consequences,” which is having its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. And you’ll be waiting for a big explosion, almost from the beginning.
The tension comes from Andrej (a magnetic Matjej Zemljic) as he tries to navigate his new life at a Slovenian detention center, where he has been sent by his relatively well-to-do parents and less-than-well-meaning Slovenian authorities after numerous rebellious outbursts.
Once there, he meets the center’s top bully, Zele (Timon Sturbej), who extorts money and threatens to beat up anyone who doesn’t do what he says. It’s a familiar setup, with schoolyard taunts and lunchroom thefts.
At first, Andrej tries to stay out of trouble, despite Zele’s constant tauntings. But then the two seem to realize they have something in common. Both are closet homosexuals, although it’s rather clear that Zele, who masquerades as a heterosexual stud, sees his sexuality as a weapon to use against Andrej.
RELATED: 10 things we’re looking forward to at the Toronto Film Festival
All of this plays out under the nose of the center’s adults, who are incompetent at best and impotent at worst. Zele has full run of the center, and he leads a band of hoodlums who terrorize the townsfolk on weekends.
The cinematography, the blocking of scenes, the score and the set designs are first-rate. And so is the acting. But there’s something missing, especially in the one-note portrayal of Andrej’s frustrated mom, who gives her son a distorted sense of what love might be.
This is Stante’s feature film debut, and it’s notable. While “Consequences” rehashes themes from such forerunners as “Rebel Without a Cause” and Larry Clark’s “Kids,” it has a distinct vibe, mainly because of its cultural Eastern European context.
“Consequences” has not been picked up for distribution in the United States, although that appears likely after its debut Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival.