T*A*P*S (1981)

Harold Becker directs Timothy Hutton, Tom Cruise and Sean Penn in this teen drama where, after a tragedy, a group of students takeover their military school and the ensuing stand-off turns into an armed siege.

George C Scott is top billed in the credits but only appears in a handful of scenes. Timothy Hutton is nowhere near the movie star that Cruise and Penn would blossom into so your eyes are always drawn away from him, no matter how pivotal his actions are in the story. The casting would work better rejigged if Cruise were the lead, Penn the hothead and Hutton the voice of reason. It is a strange little teen rebellion movie, not a bad one, but one where the kids are fighting for their right to be part of the system. Unusual to see a flick where the values are quite so conservative, so traditional and almost pointedly uncool. You can constantly sense the tragedy brewing after an unpredictable first act proves there’ll be no holds barred. The big finale is surprisingly violent.

6

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