The lives of Bobo really aren’t screaming for rebellion. They are not so much persecuted outcasts as they are simply uncool. They have relatively normal families whom they view through their prism of sullen teenager-ness as incapable of understanding how they feel and who they are. If they’d made “We Are The Best!”, say, five years later they would have been laying on the floor listening to The Smiths and pondering buying a used synthesizer. It’s not so much punk rock itself that liberates them as they way in which they use punk rock to take a youthful stand.
Kids can also adapt quickly, and Bobo and Klara adapt pretty quickly to the DIY ethos of their chosen genre. They hate gym class. So they concoct a song about hating gym class. They have no idea how to actually play chords. So they employ Hedvig (Live LeMoyne), a classically trained guitarist classmate, to teach them a first, second and third chord, which is all they need. They form a band. They practice. They goof off. They get in fights. Plot is incidental. Tension is minimal. Stakes, that eternal critic buzzword, are marginal. And so fucking what? Stakes are for posers, man.
This film, conveyed with a frenetic camera that can’t keep still, like a kid hopped up on too many sodas from the school cafeteria vending machine, understands the rhythms of childhood – which is to say, there are no rhythms, only spastic stabs at the electric guitar. Some sounds are good, some sounds are bad, but you’re just trying to find your voice amid the din of all your peers, most of whom you probably don’t even like. There is no rise, no fall, no break-up, no reconciliation. There is no conventional arc because the tyranny of grade school resists arcs.
The exclamation point that brings home the film's title is conspicuous. It was no less an authority than Nick Hornby who advised “avoid those exclamation marks, kids, if you want a long career in music.” “We Are The Best!” isn't about a long-term movement or changing a life because “We Are The Best!” has the intelligence to know people so young can't change their lives because their lives - their real lives - are still waiting to begin. “We Are The Best!” is about three chords and a cloud of dust. *Middle finger.*