Billy The Kid Jennifer Venditti

Billy The Kid Jennifer Venditti
Billy Price is a 15-year-old growing up in small-town Maine. Like many teenage boys, Billy is into heavy metal and wants a girlfriend. However, a father that abandoned him and behavioural issues plague him. Problem is, we never learn what issues Billy is suffering from, nor do we see their effects.

His mother offers some background information — that Billy’s old man is a crack head — but there’s little else to go on, which makes the film very frustrating. Without enough details to sketch his personality, the audience grapples to sympathise with Billy. Also, there’s not enough in Billy to make him stand out from the legions of troubled kids. What makes him worthy of a feature-length documentary?

In the Q&A following the first Hot Docs screening, director Jennifer Venditti explained that she picked Billy so that she could stick it to his classmates, who shun and taunt him. That gesture may have been noble but it doesn’t necessarily make for good filmmaking. (8)