Same Old Bullying
Three young teenagers in Sweden, 2 white one Asian, become aware that a group of 5 black teenagers are watching them as they wander around the mall. They also see them get on the same train as them intentionally intimidating them by staring at them. Afraid the young boys initially take refuge in a shop but decide they need to confront these teenagers who ask to see their phone and then say it is one of their brother's and it has been stolen and they should come with them so they can make sure with their brother it is the stolen phone.
As I started to watch "Play" I thought to myself my movie radar needs fixing as straight way I was aware that this was another independent movie which was going to push my limits of being able to handle non typical movie making, But it was fascinating because of this story of a group of black teenagers who have a scam going to steal mobile phones from other teens. Now of course this on first glance seems to scream racism as why have 5 black teenagers bullying others and to be honest I don't know why, maybe it is something to do with this being a Swedish movie.
But look past the perceived racist aspect and look at what is happening and we have 5 teenagers who know how to act and say things to intimidate others. These teenagers don't hit their victims, but they show no fear and show no respect towards others, if they want to intimidate the talk loudly and circle their victims as they walk along. And here is the thing I am British, I went to an all boy's school and in ever year there was a group of pupils who did exactly the same when they wanted to pick on someone and that makes the movie surprisingly accurate. They also showed a lack of respect for their elders and I remember many a bus journey where these guys would taunt an adult and in turn it made people scared of them. Oh I forgot to mention, they weren't black.
What this all boils down to is that "Play" is a fascinating and in a way accurate representation of teenage bullying as in the tactics groups use on their victims. But of course the decision to have the trouble coming from 5 black teenagers adds to the discussion and that is what this movie does, it causes discussion and debate.