The greatest thing about KIN is its ending. It’s also the most frustrating thing about what is no doubt going to end up in a series. There comes a point when a studio is just after a cash cow and not willing to invest not only money but talented writers, directors and editors. Rather, it will coast through the film buying time until the next instalment and million-dollar injection into the studios already bulging pockets.
Before studios banked on trilogies or sequels, time and money were invested into making a stellar film as a stand-alone. And from there they will leave a little tell in the final moment on the off chance it might make enough money to earn a sequel. Now it’s only about the follow up. So much so KIN is relatively uneventful until the final moments which leaves you wanting more.
Trying to make some money to buy some new shoes, Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt) takes to raiding construction sites for any scrap metals he can get his hands on. In scoping one site he comes across some suited bodies lying on the floor in what seems like they have just been in battle.
After being frightened off Eli returns only to find a weapon. While this is happening Eli’s foster brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor) returns home from a stint in prison. Their Dad, Hal (Dennis Quaid) happens to confront Jimmy breaking into the safe at his work. Jimmy owes some people a lot of money.
Things turn bad and Jimmy tricks Hal into fleeing the state on an adventurous road trip to safety. With the whole trip filled with danger and bonding, Eli comes to know the truth behind the weapon in a battle with the people Jimmy owes money to.
The story line while uneventful for the most part has a lot of substance to it. There is a wealth of themes that come together to build a depth to these characters and landscape. KIN has had plenty of time to grow and develop as it is based on the short film Bag Man released in 2014 by the same writers and directors Jonathan and Josh Baker.
KIN is about the complicated lifestyle living in a town for the most part deserted with closed and closing factories, Detroit. It’s about family values and relationships when put to the absolute test and the limits you’ll go for them. It’s also a coming of age story being forced to grow up and find your feet when they’re filled with old worn out shoes.
It’s a slow-paced film filled with some great action, a twist of sci-fi and a hint of a thriller. KIN acts a little differently in that it builds the character as it goes, filling in the backstory rather than let it naturally seep into the storyline. And this is where the frustrating part sets in. It feels as though the film is being set up as the backstory to possible sequels.
The character needs to be developed, so having substance and to be shown elements of their life prior to this point is important. And it’s very much warranted. Just executed in the wrong way, they are playing a long game not a fun game.
Taking us on the journey of Eli is actor Myles Truitt. Truitt isn’t a name you’ll know just yet though you may have seen his face in TV series particularly Donald Glover’s Atlanta. Truitt has a natural presence on screen and manages to appear he has the world on his shoulders. He navigates a complicated adolescence not to mention this crazy journey that’s been thrust upon him.
Alongside Eli for the journey is his brother Jimmy played by Jack Reynor (Electric Dreams, Detroit, Gassland). Reynor has a complicated character full of so much emotion it’s hard to read at times. Not only is he having to deal with being chased by a gang there’s also a complicated father son relationship, having just got out of jail and now the responsibility of caring for his foster brother. While at times it’s a little tricky to know what it is Reynor is feeling, more often than not his delivery and on-screen connection to the other characters is relatable.
Overall KIN is this complicated journey full of sci-fi action, drama and a whole lot of death. While it feels a tad flat getting to the final point of the film, it is a wonderful backstory into these complicated and challenging lives. There’s some amazing performances and the entire concept is interesting. If you’re to take anything from this film, it’s that the second instalment will be a pretty wild ride.
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