I've been trying to write this review for the past few days. Bit of a tricky one, this.
Throughout the film, messages from an internet forum are flashed on the screen. While the authors of these messages may or may not be the same people in the film - that's left for the viewer to decide – but it shows the one space in their lives where teenagers can be honest with their emotions.
This film is at times unnervingly accurate with its portrayal of teenagers and how they react to their first musical love. There's a nice scene where someone starts a fight because they like the early work Lily Chou Chou did before she went solo. This reminds me a lot of various discussions I had when I was that age about The Mission/Sisters of Mercy or Joy Division/New Order. Although I never got into a fight over it.
The film is both free-form in its storytelling, with stories slowly blending into one another, and at the same time it feels quite episodic. It can also be quite confusing to watch – minor characters from earlier in the film pop up as pivotal characters later on. To be honest, I stopped trying to remember who each person was by the end of the film. But I don't think that really affected my enjoyment of the story. Instead the people involved became anonymous receivers of whatever events were unfolding. I'd become as dispassionate as the lead character, the bullied who becomes the bully.
A fascinating film.