Kin just simply has to be one of the most under-rated films of the year. Released with very little fanfare in Australia I went into the film not expecting much, I walked out of the cinema though heralding it as one of the films of the year. Somehow directors Josh Baker and Johnathan Baker have created a film that has the crime grittiness of Two Hands but introduces just enough sci-fi element to make it different… this is a film that is guaranteed to become a cult classic.
Based on The Baker’s short film The Bag Man the plot of Kin centres around Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt – Black Lightning, Dragged Across Concrete) who is just finding himself starting to get in trouble at school as he also tries to rebel against the ‘hard’ rules that his father, Hal (Dennis Quaid – Frequency, The Day After Tomorrow) puts in place.
Hal and Eli’s life is then turned upside on the one day – a day when Eli finds an ‘alien ray-gun’ in an abandoned building is the same day his older brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor – Free Fire, Macbeth) is released from prison. Unfortunately while in prison Jimmy has hired the psychopathic Taylor Balik (James Franco – 127 Hours, The Disaster Artist) to protect him and now he is out Taylor wants his $60,000. Unable to pay up an unthinkable incident happens that force Eli and Jimmy out onto the room. Of course Eli takes his ray-gun with him and soon mysterious paranormal beings and Taylor are in hot pursuit of them. Meanwhile the boys then meet up with the sassy stripper Milly (Zoe Kravitz – Divergent, Mad Max; Fury Road) gaining them more enemies.
Kin is the kind of movie that has you on edge from start to finish and not just because it is a game of cat and mouse between the boys, the Police, gangsters and aliens. No this is a film where you never know what is going to happen from scene to scene and there are even scenes here that involve Eli experimenting with the ray-gun that has your heart in the mouth. Add that to shoot outs, intense holds up and confrontations and you begin to realise why this film works so all. Of course that intensity is taken to a whole new level when the creative team shows early on that they are not afraid to kill off important characters. Plus despite their vices Eli, Jimmy and Milly are likable characters that you want to see survive.
The fact that the screenplay makes Jimmy a likable character is nothing short of a miracle itself. When you consider that Jimmy seems to be a pretty unrepented con who will do anything to raise the funds that will clear his debt means he should be a character that is despised…especially with what his actions cause. But such is the power of this brilliantly written screenplay and the great acting performance of Reynor makes Jimmy a likable character the audience wants to see survive.
Perhaps the thing that makes Kin so memorable though is the way that it manages to meld the crime and sci-fi genres so well. At it’s very heart Kin is predominantly a crime thriller – a story of two men on the run from the Police and a gangster who wants them dead. But the smart sci-fi element injected here does just enough to make Kin a truly memorable film that will certainly go down as a cult classic once cult film lovers begin to discover it.
Reynor is well supported by the actors around him. Young Myles Truitt puts in a truly memorable breakthrough role with his performance while Zoey Kravitz really steps up with her meatiest role since Good Kill and continues to show why she is one of the most promising actresses in Hollywood at the moment. James Franco is also at the top of his game playing the ruthless Talyor Balik, another character that raises suspense every second he appears on the screen because you are never sure when he is going to pull the trigger next.
Kin is an amazing film, one of the first films that has really made me say ‘wow’ so far this year. A brilliant script that keeps you guessing from start to finish alongside stunning performances from all of its leads this is the kind of film that every cult film fan should be flocking to see. A work of genius Kin is one of the best finds of 2018.
Kin can be pre-ordered on DVD now.