Rarely do they raise Cain in the city-state of Singapore, unless it's the cane of corrective authority-at least that's the official view from that miracle of orderly prosperity. Royston Tan has a very different take: his reeling, irreverent first feature dredges up the overlooked underbelly of teen dropouts, druggies, and dead-enders, played by street punks from the Lion City. Random bashings and ritual piercings barely conceal the brutal monotony of this artificial Eden. 15 is saturated with the artifacts of hyper-distraction-mock video games, crazed captions, frantic karaoke, even an animated "Suicide Manual"-spectacle designed to colonize the psyches of these kids, converting their fragile desires into consuming impulses. Tan's stinging satire finds hope beneath the angst; tough punks who wear their nihilism like a name-brand fashion, these proto-agonists are, after all, just kids looking for a way in. Still, the darkly outrageous 15 can't imagine sweet 16.

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