Directed by David Zellner. 83 mins.
Worth my time? Meh. (Seen at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre)
I really wanted to like Kid-Thing. The staff at the Cinefamily has been talking it up for what seems like ages, and The Hit List described it being “Like Days of Heaven on paint fumes.” Sign me the fuck up, I thought.
Newcomer Sydney “Wrath of God” Aguirre delivers a bullshit-free performance as a sociopathic Butcher Boyish preteen in the boonies. Some of the cinematography is gorgeous, and the Zellners (brothers David and Nathan) have a keen eye for beauty in the bizarre. The splat of paintballs into cow shit is surprisingly gripping.
The film has its share of great moments resulting from Aguirre’s hell-raising, but it never lives up to it’s potential. The authentic moments of childhood rage hint that Kid-Thing could have been exceptional. In its final form, however, the film is merely peculiar like a David Gordon Green-helmed Napoleon Dynamite.
No, I’m not linking to anything even remotely related to Napoleon Dynamite.
The Zellners (who were in attendance at my screening) called their movie “a fable.” Wait, what? How is this a fable? Aguirre’s character does not change a bit throughout the film, and any moral of the story (if you can call this patchwork of scenes a story) was totally lost on me unless the lesson is, “Death trumps boredom.”
Still, I can imagine a small but potent audience who will adore Kid-Thing. If you like quirky, unsettling, meandering tales such as Dogtooth, check this one out. Anyone else who wants to watch a story about angry hick kids should instead watch Jeff Nichols’ excellent Mud from earlier this year.
(Seen and written on 2013-09-20)