I wasn’t expecting a political debate about a borderline throwaway film released during Labor Day Weekend (a graveyard for cinema) yet here I am. Kin, a movie about a boy who finds an alien gun and gets caught up against a bunch of bad people is in theaters on Thursday. I saw the film and enjoyed it, however, I was a bit surprised by the negative reaction behind it. I mean the movie definitely has flaws, but it wasn’t a bad film by any means. Then I read a review from Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty who gave the film an F rating. What was more puzzling was the reason why in which he stated:
“Kin is a movie about a child with an all-powerful firearm that makes him feel important and special and powerful. On a one-to-ten scale of moral fecklessness, this ranks about a thousand.”
I’m going to have to explain this film so you understand how we got here and how off the wall this debate got. Kin is about a 14-year-old kid named Elijah (Myles Truitt), living in the struggling city of Detroit. While raiding abandoned buildings for copper, he stumbles across the aftermath of a shootout with guys who are wearing futuristic armor and guns. Elijah takes one of the guns home with him being it is unlike anything he’s ever seen. However, things go south when his adopted brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) returns home from prison and he is $60,000 in the hole. After a botched robbery, Jimmy and Elijah flee to the west coast because they have a very sadistic crime lord (James Franco) on their tail who wants revenge by any means necessary.
The biggest (rational) complaint about the film is that it’s a bit misleading with the sci-fi aspect of the movie. Kin could have easily worked as a gritty story of two brothers trying to escape the real world dangers of modern-day Detroit. The film progresses without much to do with any sci-fi elements but it isn’t that bad. Despite being the lead, not much is asked from young actor Myles Truitt but his emotions are believable when the film needs them to be. Co-star Jack Reynor is charismatic as a habitual screw up in a discount Chris Pratt kind of way. James Franco is both scary and over the top as the movie’s villain. He makes it clear from the start that there is no line he won’t cross to get his way and his presence makes it much more exciting. Where the film drags is in its writing, there seems to be a disconnect in what exactly Kin wants to be. Technically, you can excuse it if you make the argument that the story will be expanded in the sequel, but that isn’t how the movie was marketed so that could very easily turn some people off. With that said, Kin is entertaining, attention-grabbing and there is a very entertaining cameo towards the end for those who are big Black Panther fans, so, all in all, it’s a very recommendable film for the Labor Day weekend.
Ok, back to the argument. As stated, there was one writer who took a great exception to the film displaying a young teen firing a gun, a gun that doesn’t actually exist in real life but a gun none to less. Where I completely disagreed with the writer’s take is when he says this:
You could argue – and I imagine that the filmmakers will – that plenty of contemporary movies feature more guns and bigger guns that fire off more rounds. But here’s why that argument doesn’t wash: Those movies carry R ratings and are meant for adult audiences who, in theory, know the difference between right and wrong, escapism and reality. Kin, on the other hand, is rated PG-13. And its hero – the one with the gun only he can fire and does fire quite a bit – is 14. Let me repeat that: He is 14. That’s three years younger than Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were when they went on their killing spree at Columbine High School and six years younger than Adam Lanza was when he murdered 27 kids and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. You can disagree with this reviewer’s take on Kin and what it’s saying both explicitly and implicitly about guns. But I can’t and won’t recommend it in good conscience.
Yeah…I think I’m going to disagree with your take Mr. Nashawaty. To take the leap from Kin which has a 14-year-old protagonist using a futuristic gun that turns bad guys into dust (Get Thanos’d) and comparing that to the real-life tragedies of Sandy Hook and Columbine is quite a leap I don’t believe anyone is going to see eye to eye with you including most of your readers. First off, this is a fiction, it’s not real. Secondly, your complaint is unfounded on two fronts. If the source of your outrage is the kid is 14 years old and firing a gun, I hate to break this to you, 14 is not an age considered to be ‘too young’ for firearm training. Millions of Americans train their children on basic firearm safety at a younger age. Millions of Americans teach their children to shoot low caliber weapons, even shotguns at ages younger than 14. Now, this may sound like a radical idea in major metropolitan cities, but in the vast majority of the country, this is nothing new. Now if your issue is that he is too young to be killing people with guns, well that depends on the context of the story. In Kin, Elijah is defending himself against a highly armed group of killers who are out to kill him and his brother…in the United States, it’s called self-defense. Elijah only fires his weapons when it is absolutely necessary and I believe most who watch Kin would say it’s 100% justified.
Now I actually tried to interact with Chris himself to get a better understanding of his disapproval of the film but we didn’t get very far.
Look guys, Kin is a good movie, see it yourself if you can the chance and if you think this film carries any comparisons to Sandy Hook, you may just want to take an early vacation this Labor Day weekend.