EIFF 2014: Hellion and Coherence

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Hellion: ****
US/ Director Kat Candler/ 98min

 

A coming of age drama revolving around breaking up of a family.

 

13 year old Jacob Wilson (Wiggins) is a is one step away from juvenile hall. He and his friends spend their free time causing trouble around town. Jacob is trying to rope his younger brother Wes (Deke Garner) into the gang. The two have little supervision after the death of their mother, and their father Hollis (Paul) is struggling to be a responsible single parent. The broken family becomes even more fragile when their mother’s sister Pam (Juliette Lewis) steps in to protect Wes.

 

The film comprises of a well paced narrative with well developed characters. All of the family are sympathetic in their dreams and goals, while Jacob’s friends are less so, as it feels that they are making things worse by being a bad influence in the young boy’s life.

 

What makes these characters and story so compelling is due to the performances. Paul appears to be better in this and more believable in this role than he was in Breaking Bad, although he was good in that show too. While both boys bring an innocence as well as displaying true emotions of hurt and anger.

 

Beautifully shot with a sunlit Texas landscape. The images encompass an isolated and desolate place that compliments the story.

 

A slow paced, but strikingly filmed drama with excellent performances throughout.

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Coherence: ****
US/ Director James Ward Byrkit/ 89min

 

An impressive debut by Byrkit that brings a new take on a dinner party movie.

 

Four couples gather at a dinner party the same evening a comet passes Earth. Dancer Em (Emily Foxler), who is unhappy with life and in a relationship with Kevin (Maury Sterling). Kevin’s ex-girlfriend Laurie (Lauren Maher) is also in attendance with her new boyfriend Amir (Alex Manugian), which is Em is none too pleased about. The group is rounded off by hot-tempered Hugh (Hugo Armstrong), his wife Beth (Elizabeth Gracen) and hosts Lee (Lorene Scafaria) and her ex-Alcoholic Actor Mike (Nicholas Brendon). During the party cellular communications and electricity are cut. The group realise that a house down the street still have power. When the friends try to go to chat with their neighbors, the couples soon discover some similarities in their circumstances.

 

Coming over as a deranged version of the Twilight Zone, this science fiction film is shot in a fly in the wall hand held style which gives the action a documentary feel.

 

The acting at times can be very melodramatic and over the top, but this adds to the chaos and fun of the storyline.

 

The pacing is extremely slow to start with, but once everything kicks off the
twists come thick, fast and never predictable. The third act especially takes things into another dimension.

 

Wild, crazy and inventive. The worst thing to do is try and make sense of the multi-stranded plot. Instead sit, relax and enjoy the ride.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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