This documentary follows 13-year-old Pug and his fascination with the Baltimore dirt bike group the 12 O'Clock Boys (so named for the way a rider can make his bike almost vertical when performing wheelies). Riding dirt bikes in Baltimore is illegal, and riding itself is dangerous. Riders die in accidents; pedestrians die in collisions. The police don't chase bikes because the consequences of a chase can be deadly.

Pug sees riding as an escape. "They get on that bike, they feel powerful," he says of the riders he idolizes. "Whatever's going on in their life is all gone. They can escape and ride."

A veteran 12 O'Clock Boy confirms Pug's reasoning. "This is what the ghetto produces," he says. "Hostile environments, anger, stress, depression. To jump on dirt bike and leave all that shit behind?"

Pug's obsession with riding gets him in a few accidents and more than a few altercations with his mother; she threatens to leave him at family court after she receives a notice that he's been truant. And when Pug's first two-wheel bike is stolen, you can see the urgency on his face as he tries to figure out how to get it back. 12 O'Clock Boys is glimpse at a reality most of us don't experience.

12 O'CLOCK BOYS

Directed by Lotfy Nathan

CCA Cinematheque

NR

76 min.