We are the Best! Blu-ray Review
Punk rock has always been about attitude and aggression. Going against the establishment was the norm. Musicality wasn’t always a prerequisite for punk rock bands. Take the Sex Pistols for instance. They were average musicians at best, but they sold their songs with an in your face ferocity that you brought what they were selling. Punk rock took off between the mid to late 70s. Bands such as the Sex Pistols, Ramones and The Clash set the stage for the movement. New wave music took hold in the early 80s as punk morphed into other directions. WE ARE THE BEST! is set in Stockholm, Sweden in 1982 as these competing genres are battling it out.
Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin) are two girls in their early teens that don’t exactly fit in with the rest of their class. Both girls have short hair that make them look like boys and are teased incessantly about it. They both have a love for punk rock. Klara is the more confident girl. She rebels against everything and everyone. She even scoffs at people who believe in religion. Her hair is even more extreme than Bobo’s. It is spiked in the middle similar to a mohawk. Bobo’s hair is a bit more traditional. Both girls fight to be accepted. Bobo though wants this more than Klara. Bobo lives with her single mother. Her father visits from time to time. Her mother’s active social life leaves little time for Bobo. Klara’s home life seems a bit more chaotic. She has both her parents with her and some siblings as well. Klara’s brother used to be a punk rocker and now he is more mainstream much to the chagrin of Klara.
Klara and Bobo find their true calling at the youth rec center. They form a two piece band with Bobo on drums and Klara handling the bass and vocals. It is rough at first for the two. The one main obstacle is that they don’t know how to play. Things start to turn when they spot a girl at a talent competition at school. Her name is Hedvig (Liv LeMonye). Every year she plays her acoustic guitar to the catcalls of her classmates. Hedvig is also a devout Christian. Klara and Bobo though see an opportunity to get better as a group and possibly make a friend. They do quickly strike up a friendship. Hedvig helps the other two girls with learning about chords, tuning and rhythm. It is a perfect match.
WE ARE THE BEST! works well in exploring the appeal of punk rock. But it also succeeds in looking at peer pressure, friendship, jealousy and camaraderie. Klara is headstrong in her views and tries to get Hedvig to change hers about religion. It is a fascinating discussion with Bobo in the middle. The dialogue isn’t dumbed down because of their youth.
There are also great scenes with the group when they meet up with two boys in a punk rock group. Klara and Bobo like the same boy. Klara dates him first, while Bobo stews about it. Klara has always had better luck with boys. Bobo’s confidence with them is shaken with this rejection. The ramification of this love triangle is realistic and is handled well. The jealousy that Bobo has toward Klara is also looked at in a frank nature. People will certainly relate to having a friend that always has to have their way and makes certain that they do.
The film ends in grand fashion as the group performs in a gymnasium before a disapproving audience. It truly is the perfect capture of punk rock.
Video: The film looks great and does capture the time period being depicted.
Audio: The dialogue being heard here isn’t as important here since the film is in Swedish. The music though comes through loud and clear.