12 O’Clock Boys


The 12 O’Clock Boys are a notorious urban dirt bike pack in Baltimore – popping wheelies and weaving at excessive speeds through traffic, the group impressively evades the hamstrung police. In Lotfy Nathan’s wild, dynamic documentary (three years in the making), their stunning antics are envisioned through the eyes of young adolescent Pug – a bright kid from Baltimore’s rough Westside neighborhood obsessed with the riders and willing to do anything to join their ranks. The bikers – who gather from all parts of the city in groups over 100 bikes strong – roar through city streets trying to pop the perfect vertical wheelie. That quintessential move is known as “12 o’clock.” Though the groups’ rabble-rousing is illegal, a no-chase policy leaves police powerless to stop the bikes from roaring through traffic. A cat-and-mouse dynamic results as the cops employ every tool from helicopters to Tasers against the bikers. Action-packed video of the riders in their element is transformed by director Lofty Nathan into a dreamscape, narrated by the riders, their fans, and their opponents, making for a fascinating look at an urban subculture. Premiering to critical acclaim at the SXSW and Hot Docs Film Festivals (where Nathan won the HBO Emerging Artist Award), 12 O’Clock Boys provides a compelling and intimate personal story of a young boy and his dangerous, thrilling dream. (Dir. by Lofty Nathan, 2013, USA, 75 mins., Not Rated, Oscilloscope) Digital