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Nerdlocker - The idea here is that if someone is acting out, behaving unfavorably we as a society must realize there may be something behind these disparaging actions. There is to some degree a legitimate reason for their conduct. In the case of the lead child who is a rowdy, mischievous, or trouble making person, especially an adolescent which is the very definition of hellion is pushed into this life of rebellion because of the loss of his mother. It is his actions that propel the film and cause the overlying conflict. Despite his unruly way played wonderfully by newcomer Josh Wiggins, he is not the only one out of control. The loss of the wife and apparent rock has left this entire family of two boys and their father in complete turmoil.

The role of the father is played by Aaron Paul who loses himself in a drunken hell when he loses the only woman he ever loved. I don’t know if Aaron Paul is just naturally talented or if some past traumatic event prepared him for the dramatic but he conveys pain in such a heartbreaking manner. He did it throughout Breaking Bad and continues this tradition in Hellion. He is completely believable as a down on luck blue collar man with tragedy enveloping his life at seemingly every turn. If the loss of his wife wasn’t enough and his own despair wasn’t damaging enough, his teen son is an absolute monster as of late. It is the balance of trying to maintain some semblance of a household while trying to wrangle in his ill-behaved son that Paul’s character must find but through most of the run time eludes him. This is the true struggle here and as in real life, often there is collateral damage. In this case it is the father’s youngest that seems to get the brunt of all the mayhem.

I would say my biggest problem with this film is the musical score. I can see the argument for its merits but a soundtrack filled with the likes of Metallica kind of hurts an otherwise powerful scene. It takes the audience out of the movie which is never a good thing. I think in a lot of the scenes in the film, a minimalist approach would have really catered to the overall tone quite well; a sort of less is more method. Aside from this small complaint the movie as a whole works well enough to make the audience feel something for these characters. I think the best thing this has going for it is the relatable qualities of the characters and the predicament they find themselves in. How they deal with the loss is meant to tug on a few heart strings and in many respects it achieves this.

As one might expect this boy’s shenanigans reach a point that if caught will alter the face of this family yet again. Throughout the movie we see signs of remorse in the older son but his pain of losing one parent and dealing with an absentee father is too much for him. The irony here is that his acting out is causing a chasm between everyone who cares for him the most. There is nothing overly original here but through a strong enough script and great performances from the cast, Hellion is a viable dramatic achievement. Special attention must be given to the supporting cast that includes Juliette Lewis and Deke Garner who plays the youngest brother. If you are a fan of Aaron Paul and can find the good in such a dark subject matter then certainly give this a chance. Is it all that memorable? Not really. However there is something here worthwhile and worth your attention. If you are a fan of films like Mud and Joe then Hellion is right up your alley.

The film is unrated but does contain: Strong language throughout and brief violence.

Run Time: 94 minutes

After Credits Scene: None

Starring: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner

Directed By: Kat Candler

Out of 5 Nerdskulls

Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 2

OVERALL: 3.5 Nerdskulls


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