Visually, Charles Henri Belleville’s Jet Trash is a lurid meeting of Nicolas Winding-Refn’s old and new work. Bathed in sunset orange and flashes of luminescent teal blue, it takes us from the party beaches of Southern India to the sleazy underworld nightclubs of London in one gorgeous swooping camera shot.Following the lives of two drug pushers playing an around-the-world game of cat and mouse, Jet Trash earns no major kudos for plot originality but soars when it comes to its arresting aesthetics.
Former Misfits star and Edinburgh Film Festival regular Robert Sheehan stars as Lee, a flamboyant lad looking forward to a drug-fuelled Christmas Eve party when he and his two housemates accidentally kill a cow in a motor accident on the way. Considered sacred in this Indian town, it marks the dizzying beginning of a series of flashbacks that lead us to the reasons why both Lee and his mate Sol wound up here. It makes subtle nods to Winding-Refn’s Pusher thematically, but its disorientating cinematography nods to the kaleidoscopic beauty of The Neon Demon.
Of course, Jet Trash doesn’t push the boundaries of filmmaking as much as those two did, but for a film targeted towards the ketamine-fuelled kids of today, it does a lot more than is realistically required of it. Sheehan delivers a spectacular, seductive lead performance that manages to captivate us throughout the film’s consistent and full-on pacing, further proving his position as an E4-drama graduate well on his way to Jack O’Connell levels of success. He proudly makes his mark, standing front and centre of a cast that may fail the Bechdel Test (no two women even share an on-screen presence), but makes brilliant use of their undeniable talents.
Jet Trash is a fiery, seductive inferno of a film that’s packed to the rafters with guttural power and great performances. Alas, a film aimed towards young people that has enough artistic integrity to satisfy even the steeliest of middle-aged critics.