JOSEPH KAHN FILM ALSO FEATURES BULLY CHARACTER NAMED BILLY NOLAN
Music video and commercial director Joseph Kahn's second feature film, Detention, opens in select AMC theaters today, before moving on to other cities later on. Kahn financed the high school-set, genre-busting film himself, so that he could call all the shots without argument. Detention is aimed at today's teenagers, who Kahn believes are bored by the movies Hollywood generally gears toward them. The film, which features deliberate references to many many films, is Kahn's call for the death of genres. According to City Arts' Armond White, the film includes a 360-degree pan that is an homage to a similar pan in Brian De Palma's Blow Out:
There’s a continuous 360-degree pan through eleven years of pop song totems and teen fads that sneaks up on you as one of the most fantastically detailed set-pieces in modern movies. It’s also an homage to Brian De Palma’s vertiginous 360-pan in Blow Out. Both De Palma and Kahn use their technical aplomb and social acuity to similarly encircle a moral void. Kahn’s De Palma trickery may obscure his own considerable point about cultural overload (also De Palma’s unconscious panic).
Not sure if this is the scene White is referring to, but Kahn describes his favorite sequence of Detention in an interview with Caliber's Katherine Sziraczky:
I like my teen throwback sequence in the movie, where we go through the eras in detention. Who makes throwbacks for teens? Most people assume that teens haven’t lived long enough to recognize a throwback, but that scene shows you how fast society changes for new young people. Things change so fast, hairstyles, music, that little sequence just throws it in your face, this is a whole new world.
In what is surely a nod to Carrie (both the novel and the film), Kahn, who co-wrote the screenplay for Detention, has a character named Billy Nolan, which was also the name of the character played by John Travolta in De Palma's film adaptation of Stephen King's novel.