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Citizen Duane
IMDB Rating: 5.3/10 from 219 votes
Release: 8 September 2006 (Canada) /

Citizen Duane

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Michael Mabbott,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Intelligent high school senior Duane Balfour has long lived by the principles of his father, Cecil Balfour, to stand up for what he believes in at whatever cost. Duane's fervor is in large part because Cecil died for his principles, he who was viewed as a lunatic. Duane's primary target is his classmate Chad Milton. Although Chad easily gets whatever he wants in life because of who he is, he is largely a symbol for Duane of the entire Milton clan, the richest family in town who have long ruled what happens and who was also the target of Cecil's views. Many of those in Duane's life believe Duane's single-mindedness against Chad is misguided and makes him seen as a lunatic like his father was viewed. Those people include his exasperated mother Bonnie Balfour, his exasperated on again/off again girlfriend Molly Buckley, and his caring teacher, Miss Houston. Based on their advice for him to channel his energies into more productive outlets, Duane decides to run for mayor against five time... Written by Huggo

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Critic Reviews


I attended the world premiere of "Citizen Duane" at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was nothing like I'd imagined. Even the Festival Guide doesn't do it justice -- "Duane's family has a history of tilting at windmills..." Yes, it's a coming-of-age story. Yes, it has an endearing protagonist in Duane Balfour (Douglas Smith). Comic relief is ably provided by Devon Bostick as Duane's little brother Maurie, in a film that's already riotously funny, which is quite a task in itself. It also has a political message, and morals abound. But mostly it's real -- it's funny, it's poignant, it's meaningful on so many levels -- and isn't that what life is all about? This is a film that refuses to allow itself to be pigeonholed, and that is a triumph of Michael Mabbott, directing a script and story co-penned by Robert DeLeskie and Jonathan Sobol.

It was also intensely personal for me. Duane has a huge record collection (yes, vinyl), as did (do) I. I was deeply involved in politics growing up, which is central to the story. I even have a degree in geology, which plays a role as well (trust me, it all makes sense). "Needle drop" is a term used by filmmakers to describe songs placed on the soundtrack from other artists. In this film, the term is used literally -- we see the needle drop on a record, Canadian artists, and that surprisingly includes classics like Barry McGuire's 1968 political anthem "Eve of Destruction." That one gave me goosebumps. "You tell me over and over and over again, my friend...ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction..." The film carries its weight largely on the shoulders of young Douglas Smith, known mostly to US audiences from "Sleepover" and HBO's "Big Love." He's stunning, sharp, and witty as a teen perhaps too big for his britches, on a mission to save his small town from its own ignorance. But this is no conventional Hollywood dramatic comedy. No, this film has more twists and turns than just about any film of the 30 I'd seen in Toronto. It is a thoughtful film, sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, and one which I believe will expose the talented Douglas Smith to a wider theatrical audience. He has a bright future on the big screen, and his tackling of this complex role is nothing less than a show of pure talent.

Please do not let this little gem slip off your radar. Watch for it, and be prepared to set your expectations of a "typical teen comedy" to rest. "Citizen Duane" is different, and it will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.

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