Power and Pressure

Sarah Chalke and Lochlyn Munro in Unlikely Suspects (1996)

The football team is the pride of the school and their quarter back Josh Kelly (Lochlyn Munro) is the star with an ego to match it. It is that ego which leads to him and some other players thinking they can do what they like when it comes to the cheerleaders, touching them inappropriately. When head cheerleader Krista Wilson (Sarah Chalke) tells Coach Peters (Garry Chalk) what is going on he tells Josh to behave himself but it only leads to Josh sexually intimidating Krista. It leads to her mum, a school counsellor taking things to principal Cooke (Gwynyth Walsh) and that is when things start to kick off with those with power want things handled quietly in order not affect the football teams chances of going all the way to the State Championship.

It makes me feel sad when I find myself saying a movie is familiar when it deals with the subject of peer abuse because it shouldn't be that way, there shouldn't be a need to highlight the situation because in a perfect world the situation should never happen in the first place. But this is the real world and in every walk of life people have got away with things because of who they are and who they know, you just need to have followed the events in the UK over the last few years surrounding historic cases of abuse by celebrities who used their status not only to take advantage of those who were young but also their position to silence others.

So that brings me to "Unlikely Suspects" which sees the star of a high school football team not only taking advantage of his position to sexually intimidate a cheerleader but using his families power to try and control the escalating situation when she and her family decide to go public with what happened. But on top of that we have the power of high school football and its significance in so many people's lives that there are those who would rather cover things up than threaten a winning team. Whilst it is a well put together movie which works for those from a certain teenage in the 90s generation the themes covered are familiar and there have been other movies which have covered similar themes and done an equally good job if not better.

What I will say about "Unlikely Suspects" is that the casting is spot on with Lochlyn Munro well cast as the sports jock who thinks his star status means he can do what he likes and treat people how he wants especially with the power of his family behind him. And equally Sarah Chalke is well cast as the teen that refuses to be intimidated and silenced despite the knock on effects of not being quiet over things.

What this all boils down to is that "Unlikely Suspects" is two things; a sadly familiar movie but one which is well made and well acted with a well chosen cast.

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