Unlocking The Truth

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Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins are from Brooklyn, and they have a band, it’s called Unlocking The Truth. I’ll bet, though, that the image you have in your head from that sentence is completely different from the reality – because Malcolm and Jarad are 11, black, and Unlocking The Truth plays nothing but heavy metal.

Made by Luke Meyer for the online magazine The Avant-Garde Diaries, Unlocking The Truth is a four-minute introduction to Malcolm and Jarad. Because of its magazine it feels very much like an interview, with B-roll under a voice-over by the kids. And cool, brave, unexpected kids they are – Jarad with his shaved head, glasses, white bow-tie on buttoned-up black shit, Malcolm with his big ‘fro, both of them articulate, soft-spoken and wise.

The film gives no real sense of the world around them, only of the bubble they’ve created, with imaginary tour date calendars pinned up on their walls, the small basement studio where they play, and brief shots of the streets on which they live. No one else really gets a look-in, which is the film’s strength and its flaw: it’s all about the duo, but as a result there’s no real sense of their environment.

Malcolm and Jarad talk a lot about bullying, but only vaguely. They also talk about their goals, which are to be “rich and famous”, never in musical terms. The film, in fact, doesn’t discuss music or creativity at all, beyond a passing reference to “picking your own genre” and the obligatory “be yourself” closing message. Meyer shoots it all quite beautifully but very impersonally, with lots of slow motion. The result is that after four minutes you know these kids as a message and as a slogan – but have very little sense of who they are.

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