Arteta’s portrayal of a love sick teenager comes full circle in Revolt. The film journeys through the life of Nick Twisp, a character with whom many young people can associate with, mainly because he’s a bit geeky looking for love in a girl who’s out of his league. It’s a tired storyline, but what gives the film its original twist is the way in which Arteta takes this ordinary premise and develops into an entertaining and engaging film, with the charismatic Frenchman, Francois Dillinger. Adding to this Michael Cera’s performance as Twisp/Dillinger gives the film an indie vibe that Cera is well known for; his previous performances in Juno and Superbad give the viewer an automatic indication that Cera is doing what he does best. His sarcastic charm shines through in the film. Portia Doubleday’s big breakthrough is a stroke of casting genius; she portrays Sheeny’s sometimes harsh and hard to get character with great skill. She is certainly an actress to look out for in the future. Cameos come from a rather ragged looking Steve Buscemi , and Zach Galifanakis, whose claim to fame is the film The Hangover.
The interior monologue of Nick Twisp is the main guiding light through the simple narrative, until Dillinger appears and releases his inner madness. Francois is the love child of Twists loneliness and vivid imagination and, in a scene reminiscent of the Nutty Professor, Twist and Dillinger run riot in Berkley, eventually blowing half the street apart. The relationship that the two characters seems to have is be strained at best; Twist gives the impression of not approving of his alter ego, even though he created him. This raises the question whether Dillinger is an alter ego, or just a psychiatrist’s wet dream. It’s not a Gollum/Sméagol relationship though; it feels as though Arteta is trying to suggest that we all have a bit of crazy in us somewhere.
The film imitates Cera’s split personality; while some of the film has fun, quirky elements, overall Youth has a very slow pace, and taking away any humour Arteta tries for. While the acting is good, the cameos certainly add to the film, the portrayal of Dillinger doesn’t so much say youth in revolt, more like Twisp with a hangover. Doubleday’s convincing character makes the relationship between the two teenagers feel all the more real, but the story certainly has room to develop.