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SFF’14 Movie Review: “Young Ones”

January 31, 2014

Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 5.41.19 PMJake Paltrow makes his sophomoric return, directing a high caliber cast of actors, set in harsh terrain, and manages to mesh two genres ever so fluently. While the pacing is a tad slow, and the story lags in the middle, it’s made up for an ingenious high concept idea, and a few characters that manage to make their gritty mark.

Set in a future of unknown time, Earth has scarcely run out of water. Ernest Holm’s (Michael Shannon) farm has managed to stow away remaining drops of water, so that significant trades can be conducted, all in the hopes for survival. After a harsh run with his son, Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee), the last donkey to help carry transports dies out. Ernest makes a purchase for a cattle robot, out bidding the local bad boy, Flem (Nicholas Hoult).

However, a vicious encounter between Flem and Ernest, leads to grisly end, and the only witness to the crimes is the robot. Unknown to Flem, the robot plays an important part in the revelation about Flem’s crimes, leaving Jerome to step up as a man, having the only power and grit to make a change, for his fathers farm, and the protection of his sister, Mary (Elle Fanning).

One thing I took away from this film is the grand scope. It’s a combination of a Sergio Leone western mixed with the sci-fi mystique of a 70’s Spielberg-type epic. Most will imagine this movie to be a reverse “Waterworld” idea, far from it. There’s a lot of politics at play here, vicious classes colliding, making a stance in the game of survival. Paltrow plays his characters out like a chess game, leading to this nail biting final stand that leads to only one victor.

Be that as it may, the problem the film faces is it’s pacing, it’s slow, and the constant transition editing may come off as distracting, personally I feel that Jake [Paltrow] needs to re-cut the film before it’s given a theatrical release. There’s a brilliant movie in there, but what I saw at the festival was merely fine film. The middle section is the most trying, and needs another look. Nevertheless, I dug the movies overall vibe, it’s a thought provoking science fiction film, that may garner cult status in later years.

GRADE: B+

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