King Jack (15)
26th April 2016
This is intended to be a so-called coming-of-age movie by writer-director
Felix Thompson, set in a small town in America, but it came across to
me as a symbolic story of how that country and its inhabitants are obsessed
by wanton violence - the latest example being the murder of eight people
from the same family, based in four different locations in Ohio, who were
all shot in the head.
15-year-old Jack (Charlie Plummer) is constantly the victim of bullying
by a psycho-like figure, in the shape of twenty-something Shane (Daniel
Flaherty), who takes sadistic pleasure in inflicting harm on him. This
is depicted at regular intervals throughout the film, which becomes a
bit tiresome, particularly so when Jack emerges virtually unscathed each
time he gets battered by Shane- another illustration of comic book violence,
so prevalent in recent films I have viewed.
As is the case with a lot of fifteen-year-old boys life for Jack is confusing,
jumping from adolescence to early manhood. He is basically a loner, so
when asked by his harassed single mum (Erin Davie) to look after his younger
cousin Ben (Cory Nichols) for a couple of days, he does not relish the
But they begin to bond ever so gradually, notably when he is, in a way,
kidnapped by Shane and became another victim of his violent temper.
Jack adds depth to his outlook of life through interacting with Ben,
and openly confesses to him why the way he is, which is a moving scene.
Another symbolic aspect of America was its portrayal of the police turning
a blind eye to violence. After a cop calls round to Jack's house to investigate
the latest beating meted out to him by Shane, he almost shrugs his shoulders
and promptly departs when Jack lies to him that he received the injuries
through falling off his bike.
The film has been described as a blissed-out experience, but in my view
only if you are addicted to watching gratuitous thuggery.
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