The Fallout is the latest film from HBO that has gone to the HBO Max streaming service. It’s also the newest movie dealing with the “fallout” after a school shooting. It’s not necessarily the best film dealing with this subject matter though. It premiered originally at SXSW back in March.
Vada (Jenna Ortega, Scream) is an awkward teenager in High School. She ends up in a strange location with another teenage girl Mia (Maddie Ziegler, Music) when a school shooting transpires. This ends up making them friends after the tragic events. The rest of the film deals with how she and the other students in the big school deal with this tragic event, hence the title of the film.
Megan Park, predominantly a singer and actress known for The Secret Life of an American Teenager, is the writer and director of The Fallout. She leans heavily into popular teenage tropes in this film. The one gay kid (Will Ropp), the one Black friend (Niles Fitch), the sassy sibling (Lumi Pollack), and the concerned parents of Vada (Julie Bowan, Modern Family and John Ortiz, Peppermint)
I’ve seen other films that deal with school shootings and this one doesn’t go to the next level that films such as this need to go to to be effective in getting the grief of the characters across on the screen. This film is very tame compared to the others I saw. That said, the main characters are very likable and I was invested in their story. They show that they care about one another after the event considering they are completely different types of people. This event drew them together inadvertently. This film handles that fine. It’s lovely how this friendship develops into a burgeoning relationship.
This film looks beautiful and the cinematography by Kristen Correll is amazing. The film also has some very good music by Phineas O’Connell, the brother of Billie Eilish. Overall, the direction of the film is fine as well. It’s just the script that falls short. This story doesn’t do it for me at all. Even though some of the characters are very likable. They just didn’t take enough chances with this film. And that’s what makes it fall short of my expectations.
2 1/2 star
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EICdisappointment media