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King Jack


Stars: Charlie Plummer, Cory Nichols, Christian Madsen, Danny Flaherty, Erin Davie, Yainis Ynoa, Scarlet Lizbeth, Chloe Levine, Melvin Mogoli, Francis Piscopo, Elijah Richardson, Tony Divitto, Robert Nadig, Meeko Gattuso, Keith Leonard

Director: Felix Thompson

Another week and yet another coming of age movie hits the screen.

Mercifully screenwriter and first-time feature film director Felix Thompson’s saga of delinquent 15 year old schoolboy Jack, who is trapped in a neglected small town and faces bullies both in school and out of it, reworks and revives all the all too familiar genre tropes to come up with a charming, witty and sharply truthful teenage rites-of-passage picture.

The arrival of his 12-year-old cousin Cory Nichols to stay turns out to be the catalyst for Jack – engagingly and convincingly played by Charlie Plummer (Boardwalk Empire) – to fight back against his tormentors and, at the same time, come to terms with his less than rose-tinted home life…

When the bullies capture Nichols, tie him to a seat and proceed to bombard the luckless lad with a paintball gun, far from regal Plummer goes to his rescue and is horrendously beaten up in the process, transforming him from acne-prone teenager to a more world-wise young man in the making and a winner in the rites of progress stakes.

Brandon Roots’ moody widescreen cinematography and well-used locations add to the story’s overall impact, as do Danny Flaherty as Plummer’s would-be nemesis, and Christian Madsen as his unpleasant older brother.

One more tormented teen seethes onto the screen – but this time with moving and memorable effect.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Vertigo Films. Colour.
81 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 27 Feb 2016