a critiQal film review Kin (2018)

Plot: Chased by a vengeful criminal (Franco) and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con (Reynor) and his adopted teenage brother (Truitt) are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.

Reviewed
498 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 29s)
  • ...despite a strong supporting cast, the film just doesn't live up to expectations.

While at the video store the other day (yes, they still have those), I saw a film that looked familiar: Kin.  Once back home, I realized I had a digital copy, and hadn’t actually ever seen the film.  So, of course, I quickly sat down to watch it.  Would the film be worth owning, or was there a reason I had forgotten completely about it?

Kin centers around a young boy, Eli, played by newcomer Myles Truitt.  While some may recognize him from his stint on “Atlanta” (TV), most won’t know him at all.  While he does a decent enough job, he doesn’t quite have the acting chops (yet) to carry the movie by himself.  Somehow, the filmmakers though that teaming him with Jack Reynor (who plays the older brother in his adoptive family) would help ease his burden.  It doesn’t, as Jack kind of crumples under the pressure himself, making this unlikely duo a bad combination.

While the two main characters of Kin aren’t very charismatic or entertaining, the film boasts a strong supporting cast that help make up for it.  From James Franco as a sleazy dealer to Dennis Quaid as the boys’ father to Zoe Kravitz as a tag-a-long on their road trip, the supporting cast is easily the best thing about this film.  Their performances so far outshine Truitt and Reynor, viewers will wish the film was centered around them, not on the other two.

The storyline is a bit, well, odd.   Kin starts off with a sci-fi twist, as young Eli discovers an alien weapon.  Then, it just sort of goes off the rails, as it tries to combine genres.  Starting off as sci-fi, venturing into family drama, then suddenly becoming a road trip flick with large doses of a crime spree flick, the film can’t seem to quite figure out which direction it wants to go.  It seem to want to be a genre-defying flick, but instead is just kind of muddled.  Instead of bravely forging its own way, the film instead tries to find inspiration from every genre it can think of – but just can’t really inspire the viewers.

Sure, Kin has a few decent moments.  Unfortunately, most of the film (aside from the solid performances from the supporting cast), is either trying to take itself too seriously, or is being over-the-top to the point of ridiculousness.  Like it’s genre-skipping, it can’t quite seem to nail down its mood, either.

While the concept behind Kin seems good (at least on paper), the film’s execution is a bit of a disappointment.  Lacking solid intent and with a rather weak heart in the brotherly bond that’s supposed to be at the center of the film, Kin has too many shortcomings to overlook.  Smart idea, and seemingly a perfect fit for a TV series, but the lack of direction (among other things) really brings down the appeal. 

Maybe worth a look purely as an oddity, Kin just doesn’t live up to expectations.

 

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