Friday, August 31, 2018

'Kin' Review: A Fun, Light Sci-Fi Romp Worth Your Time

In direct opposition to almost every year that has come before it, August of 2018 is jam-packed full of exciting films to see. Typically too late to technically be part of the summer movie season, and too early for Oscar consideration, August is typically where most studios send films to die. Whether it be an untested property, or a film that executives just don't have much confidence in, it is often a safe bet that an August release would probably be worth skipping. Kin is not one of the movies that you will want to skip.

Kin is a pretty basic story, with a sci-fi twist. By and large, it is a story about a young man, Eli (Myles Truitt), dealing with getting caught up in a world of crime, thanks to his ex-con older brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor). Somewhere along that journey, Eli finds an alien weapon in the smoldering remains of some sort of extraterrestrial shootout. And Jimmy has every intention of exploiting that weapon's power.

This is the first feature film for the young leading man Myles Truitt, and he delivers a fantastic, way above average performance for a person his age. And it's not just a good "kid actor" performance. It's just a flat-out great piece of acting. Jack Reynor continues his streak of solid work (Sing Street, Free Fire) and further proves that he probably should have gotten the role of a young Han Solo.

Zoe Kravtiz proves to be the heart and sole of the movie as Milly, a stripper that the boys meet along their adventure. She isn't given a whole lot to do in the film, but she owns every scene that she is present for. Her character is as down on her luck as our two leads, but she has a strong moral center that keeps the boys on the straight an narrow (or at least as on the straight and narrow as you can be robbing people with a laser gun).

As much as I liked the film, it is by no means perfect. Even at a runtime of 102 minutes, the movie feels a bit bloated. I can't help but feel that the script could have used one or more passes to tighten up certain elements. The opening of the film moves at a snail's pace, and it really spends too much time basking in the misery of our two main characters. Sometimes less is more; at a certain point you need to trust the audience to have the normal human reaction of empathy. It doesn't take a lot to cause an audience to empathize. But when you are constantly beating the audience over the head with family drama in a movie that promises a decent amount of sci-fi violence, it can feel tedious.

I can't help but be a little disappointed that this film isn't getting more traction. It is a great film, but it is also a great film for representation. It's so awesome that we have a movie like Black Panther, but it's important to pay attention to smaller, independent productions with an African-American lead. And this movie is no bait-and-switch; Myles Truitt is the lead of this film. He's a fantastic young actor, and I think his performance here deserves to have more eyes on it. The movie is even produced by Killmonger himself Michael B. Jordan. I think there's something here that is really special, and I think it deserves your attention and your cash at the box office.

I give Kin a 3 out of 5. It's in theaters now.