Saturday, August 13, 2016

KING JACK (2016)

Written & Directed By: Felix Thomspson 
Cinematography By: Brandon Roots 
Editor: Paul Penczner 

Cast: Charlie Plummer, Cory Nichols, Christian Madsen, Danny Flaherty, Erin Davie, Chloe Levine, Elijah Richardson, Keith Leonard, Yainis Ynoa

Trapped in a violent feud with a cruel older bully and facing another bout of summer school, Jack's got all the problems he can handle. So when Jack's aunt falls ill and his runty younger cousin must stay with him for the weekend the last thing Jack wants to do is look after him. Unfortunately no one really cares what Jack wants.

This isn't a film about good versus evil. This isn't a story where everyone's problems get miraculously solved by the end. This isn't a film where too many lessons are learned, but at heart it is a coming of age film.

In fact the film is rather simple. It has layers but the main character is who we follow exclusively and we see how he is kind of a loser. Grown up In a poor neighborhood. He has a crush on a girl who seems to humor him for the attention and the things she can make him do. While blind to someone who actually might like him as more than a friend.

The film is short and more to the point. Instead of lingering around or falling in love with it's shots and visuals. It cuts all the fat and keeps the characters and story moving forward. While indulging a bit in the makeup of the neighborhood and the characters to shed their personalities and prospects.

Like what was said earlier most problems in the film aren't necessarily solved. Some are hinted at and left open with very little explanation. As we have seen and heard those types of stores before and can pretty much predict or know the roots of them. Instead the information that informs them is presented more in the middle of as matter of fact but never lingering or just revealed through normal circumstances and conversations. No interventions or counseling sessions.

What is also a welcome change is that this coming og age tale focuses on not only more lower income neighborhood characters, but while it has familiar aspects as first love and family problems. It still seems like the situations are more realistic and important then the ones we usually encounter in tales like these.

One of his major problems is that he is picked on mercilessly by a bully and every time he seems to try to either defend himself or strike back he only dogs his grave deeper with this bully and his crew as the bullies seem to become more sadistic.

In the middle of all of this his cousin cones to stay with him. His cousin is shy, quiet and younger and slowly he actually starts to bond with him as he has very few friends in life. So when trying to show him around and the bully strikes back and kidnaps his cousin a chain of events is started. Where Jack learns the value of family, honor, confidence and standing up for yourself.

This film seems like a tragedy in slow motion and designed to break your heart. As we are constantly with the main character. The camera always close almost like a companion, with extreme close up's of the characters face. You can't help but feel a bond and sympathy with the main character and even his family as they might not always be loving, but they do care and are here when he needs them.

While the film might not have the necessary grit of films of it's kind. It shows an originality and another side of the tracks then we are used to, the poor characters aren't salt of the earth, nor idiots. They are Just real people trying to survive who make mistakes.

One of the most touching scenes that feels more natural in composition and in presentation is the scene of truth or dare with Jack his cousin and two girls. As well as the party scene near the end. Both of which grab you with their unannounced tenderness and ruthlessness. A harsh truth.

While the film sometimes reeks of convenience. While also having a growing terror throughout. The film is quite affective that seems to come out of nowhere. It feels like it's heart is in the right place. It's a film that will have you thinking about it afterwards bringing back certain scenes.

Grade: B+

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