If as a lad you grew up in the UK ….or Australia … them there is a very good chance that the whole idea of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme horrified you. Especially if you were an urban kid used to life’s small comforts.
HM The Queen’s husband with his long Navy career has always been a great proponent of the ‘man-up’ brigade that like to bully kids under the pretence of toughening them up. He set up the scheme back in 1955 and one of the proponents was a 2 day hike in the wild where you had to sleep rough, go forage for food, and fend for yourself.
To frightened young teenagers it seemed like sheer masochism (yes I was one of them ) but decades later it seems the perfect setting for an wonderfully stoner comedy. Get Duked is a very impressive feature film debut for Brit writer/director Ninian Duff known for his music videos which has influence this glorious wee film.
Dean (Rian Gordon), Duncan (Lewis Gribben) and DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja are teenage best mates from Glasgow who have been forced to take part in the Award Scheme as the Headmaster has run out of ideas of how to control these rebellious lads. They reluctantly agree thinking they can just sneak off for the next couple of days and smoke weed. However they are joined by Ian (Samuel Bottomley) a straight-laced boy who is actually keen to do the Award, (There was always one or two in my day as well.)
What follows is an hysterical farce with rapid low brow humor as the boys are chased around the Scottish Highlands hunted down by a manic aristocrat (wonderfully played by Eddie Izzard) who loves to take pot shots at them with his rifle. The boys are convinced that he is the actual Duke of Edinburgh.
There’s a local Police Sergeant (Kate Dickie)who decides that they are terrorists and capturing them would ensure the promotion she is desperate for. Plus a murder, a home made bomb and some hallucinatory rabbit poop (don’t ask)
The boys unable to get signals on their cell phones and have rendered the map useless by tearing out a chunk to roll a joint, insist of making music videos of their dreadfully corny hip hop. Duncan the idiot of the group has the most laughs, although they are usually aimed at him.
But overall Get Duked is an exceptionally wonderful breath of fresh air and so much more relatable too than the vast majority of teen-movies that insist on featuring ‘A’ grade perfect High Schoolers where butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths.
We all need a little bit of anarchy , especially those of us forced to do the Award and never had the slightest bit of fun like this intrepid quartet in Get Duked