• Film reviews

    #618 – Kin (2018)

    Kin (2018)

    Film review #618

    Director: Jonathan Baker, Josh Baker

    SYNOPSIS: Eli Solinksi is a fourteen-year old boy who is scavenging copper wire to sell from abandoned buildings. One day, he comes across the aftermath of a battle of some sort, and a strange weapon, which activates when he touches it. At home, Eli’s adopted Father informs him that his son Jimmy is returning home after being in jail, and after some trouble, Jimmy decides to take Eli on a road trip, not telling him that their Father is dead and a criminal gang is hot on their tail…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Kin is a 2018 sci-fi film. The story centres around Eli, a fourteen-year old boy who lives with his adopted Father. He is scavenging abandoned buildings for copper wire when he comes across the aftermath of a battle, and a strange weapon that activates when he touches it. Meanwhile at home, his Father’s son Jimmy is released from prison, and, owing money to a local gang for protection, ends up robbing his Father’s safe. Catching them in the act, their Father is killed alongside the gang leader’s brother, and so Jimmy takes Eli on a road trip to escape from them, not telling Eli what has happened to their Dad. There’s a lot to take in there; the film is a sci-fi, family drama, road trip film all rolled into one. Perhaps expectedly, the film has troubles balancing all of these different elements. The core part of the story is this family drama and the bond between Jimmy and Eli, with it developing through this road trip. The problem with this is that the film seems to have picked the most mundane element to be the focus, and leans heavily on very typical tropes for that genre. For example, that Jimmy doesn’t tell Eli that their Father is dead, and keeps trying to tell him before being interrupted, leaving Eli to eventually find out through a TV report, is just so incredibly cliché it ruins any sense of personal character development. Another issue with this is that the film scuppers any relationship between the two main characters by having their bonding through montages, which don’t really give the characters space to interact beyond the generic stuff.

    Another issue I had was that the characters don’t really deliver emotional performances. I don’t think this is fault on part of the actors; for some reason, none of the characters get really angry, or upset or anything, and what should be the most emotional scenes fall flat for this reason. Also, Eli kills a lot of people, and its never once addressed, or the consequences wrestled with. The film’s strong points are its action scenes, and the sci-fi element promises some mystery and a unique twist, but it’s mostly forgotten about until the end when someone turns up to just explain everything away. There’s some good things in here, but Kin tries to do too much, and puts its emphasis in the wrong places. This leads to the film ultimately falling back on well worn tropes that further erode the ability to develop it’s core characters and their relationship. Not terrible, but it’s flaws are plain to see.