Review: KIN

KIN can best be described by a quote from Milly (played by Zoe Kravitz), “Whatever you’ve gotten him into, he’s going to figure it out eventually. I hope you’re ready for that.” It’s almost as if she’s talking to the audience. We have no idea what we’ve gotten into during the first hour.  By the third act, we start to figure out what the film got us into and we’re not sure if anyone is ready for it.

The plot is very sci-fi: Eli (The New Edition Story’s Myles Truitt) finds a strange weapon in a vacant building. His brother Jesse (Jack Reynor) returns home from prison. A previous debt gets them involved with a group of unsavory characters lead by Taylor (James Franco). On the run from Taylor and his gang, Jesse and Eli head to Lake Tahoe and they meet Milly along the way.

Eli, Jesse, and Milly are not only being followed across the country by a vengeful Taylor, they’re being hunted by two Daft Punk looking soldiers that are tracking the mysterious weapon.

With a runtime under 90 mins, KIN dives headfirst into the story and puts the two leads on a trip headed west. It starts as a paint-by-number road trip story with a sci-fi flare that could easily be called The Adventures of a Eli and his Gun.  It’s not until the third act when weapons start getting firing that things get a little out of control

Myles Truitt is charming as Eli. He’s has the perfect balance of innocence and adolescence to make his character work. Truitt is a rising star with a bright future ahead of him. Let’s hope he can bring this same charm to Season 2 of Black Lightning.

The best part of Jack Reynor’s performance is how slick Jesse is, or thinks he is. He’s loving, selfish, deceptive, and caring. The most impressive part is how unlikable he makes Jesse. It’s juxtaposed with how likable Eli is and that’s why this unlikely duo works. Reynor even gets the best Kevin Costner Super Dad impersonation out of Dennis Quaid during an intense argument.

Zoe Kravitz is perfect as Milly. She’s character with her own agenda, not just a love interest. She’s given more to do than be arm candy or a damsel in distress, she’s actually the only one with a plan. Kravitz knocks this supporting role out of the park with what little screen time she’s given. The plot could’ve used more of her insight and ingenuity.

Every so often, a film surprises you and KIN is that film. Everything collides in the third act for an insane action packed 15 minutes. The destination is well worth the journey. The ending will blow you away and you won’t see it coming.  There’s a great cameo at the end of the film, don’t let anyone spoil it.

Sci-fi films don’t have to be big budget blockbusters. Sometimes they can be a simple story about a boy and his secret weapon, and sometimes those are the best stories.

Grade: B+