SLC Punk

A look at the issues of punk politics versus mainstream American ideology in the film “SLC Punk”.

The paper examines the film “SLC Punk”, with the atmosphere of America in the 1980s, in the middle of the Reagan administration, used as a setting for the film. The paper looks at how the film deals with the issues of punk politics versus mainstream American ideology and the battle between staying true to one’s beliefs and selling out to the system. The paper looks at these issues in the context of a specific scene from the film which depicts the interaction of punks at a party. It also introduces the movement called punk rock, an often misunderstood and much maligned group.
Beyond the text of this scene, we have the editing as a vessel for the message of punk’s rebellious nature. The scene is made to look like one continuous pan across the room, but it is in fact 8 jump cuts. Every time the camera stops on a subject there is a jump cut, as if the camera was stopped, moved a foot or two to one side, and restarted. Some of these are smooth and barely noticeable, while others like the 3 distinct shots of Steveo at the end of the scene, are very obvious and slightly disorienting. So what does this have to do with punk? Is this just not bad editing, or perhaps simply shot to look different? Perhaps, but this kind of editing stands against every standard filmic convention, much like punk stands against ideological conventions. This is not the only scene in the film in which there are prominent jump cuts. Like punk, the editing was done to subvert conventions, to create it’s own aesthetic that was unique. Unfortunately, also like punk, the defiance of convention becomes very systematic by the end, and ends up becoming an institution in itself.