Thanks to Studiocanal, we got to see the movie Kin. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!

Kin is an action and sci-fi story written and directed by brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker, and comes from the same producers of Arrival as well as the widely popular TV series Stranger Things.

There are two main plot lines which run throughout the film – the first is introduced with atmospheric shots of one of Detroit’s hallmark ruined factory buildings as young boy Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt) explores the mess of concrete and metal. He is collecting copper wire to sell to scrapyards when he stumbles upon the aftermath of a shootout between anonymous space-suit clad soldiers. The weapons of the dead soldiers catch Eli’s interest, and he quickly realises that he has found a gun which is straight out of science fiction. To recover such advanced technology, two more of the faceless space-suit soldiers are quickly on the tail of the missing weapon. The second plotline, which veers inevitably to join with the discovery of the gun, is the return of Jimmy (Jack Reynor), Eli’s older adoptive brother. Newly released from prison, Jimmy arrives home promising that he will search for honest work – the truth is that protection in prison has been expensive, and Jimmy now owes the vicious criminal boss Taylor Balik (James Franco) $60,000, a debt which seems certain to sour his return to the family. A bungled robbery sees Jimmy and Eli driving west to Nevada with Balik and his gang on their tail, and the two hi-tech agents closing in on the stolen gun.

Based on ‘Bag Man’, a short film the two Baker brothers directed in 2014, it isn’t hard to see where the strong theme of fraternity comes from. The developing bond between Eli and Jimmy is a main focus of the film, a relationship framed briefly by their father Hal’s (Dennis Quaid) moral direction in the unexplained absence of their mother. Truitt gives a likeable performance overall, showing acting skill in reacting to the events unfolding around his character. There is however a sense that he has little room to move in the character other than wielding the ‘ray gun’ and saving the day several times. There is an interesting series of scenes involving dreadlocked stripper Milly (Zoe Kravitz) as she joins the brothers on their escape to Nevada. The affection she shows for Eli is believable and adds a layer of warmth that differentiates itself from the more macho and ‘leading by bad example’ act that character Jimmy gives.

There are several points in the movie where it seems the ray gun’s destructive laser blasting powers  are put into the front seat and made to drive the narrative. After repeated plasma shots being fired in various scenes, the thrill effect becomes somewhat weaker. Franco’s bad guy is predictable but menancing enough, and bears some similarity to gangster Alien, a character he played in the 2012 film Spring Breakers – a hideous hair cut (this time a mullet), compulsory scary tattoos and a few violent executions telling us what we need to know about him.

Disappointingly, the two space-suit soldiers hunting down the gun are given no real depth, and a sense of consequence is only given very briefly at the end of the film. What they tell Eli leaves more questions than they answer, including whether Kin is intended to be followed up with a sequel. The gun is the only constant hint of sci-fi in the film, bits and pieces of other technology leaving the screen as quickly as they came. If it is in fact supposed to be a standalone, there are elements which have been left thoroughly unexplored and unexplained.

Kin – Now in Cinemas

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