Movie Review – Kin (2018)

TL;DR –  An example of a great concept and acting, not quite working due to the format.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Kin. Image Credit: Lionsgate.


As a fan of Science Fiction, I really enjoy seeing new ideas brought to the screen, even if they don’t always work out as well as they hoped. Today we get to look and just such a film that is filled with heart and some really interesting ideas, but maybe a film was not the right format to properly express it. With that in mind let’s delve into a story about a boy and his gun.

So to set the scene, we open in on Elijah “Eli” Solinski (Myles Truitt) who lives in Detroit with his adopted father Hal (Dennis Quaid). Eli has been struggling at school, he is a good kid but he has anger management issues (well if kids were making fun of your dead mother, I would not be shocked if you threw a punch or two). One day as Eli was stripping out some wiring from an abandoned factory we stumble across the site of a battle between two alien forces. On the ground are a number of corpses and on box shape gun that Eli drops when one of the bodies move. Back home Hal lets him know to set another plate for dinner because Eli’s older brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) just got out of prison, but Eli needs to be careful around Jimmy. Which is not an unreasonable statement because what they don’t know is that Jimmy is in debt to Balik (James Franco) a local gangster to the tune of $60,000 for protection while he was in jail and soon Jimmy brings that damage into the house.

Kin. Image Credit: Lionsgate.
At the heart of this film is the notion of family. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

In a film that is a slow build, you need to make sure that you spend a bit more time on getting the mood right. In Kin, they do this through good use of setting and of building the world through finding the right locations. Detroit is a city that has gone through a lot of issues as it was put into decline with the collapse of the car industry in America. So it feels like it would be a place where you could have a war between aliens in abandoned factories and no one would know. It also becomes a good place to reinforce the message from Hal about doing the right thing rather than doing the easy thing.

Another thing I liked was the simple clear design of the gun in question. It has the touchstones of something very familiar, but also with the slight visual effects augmentation, it becomes something else. We see that continue throughout the rest of the alien tech which is mostly shown through an augmented reality interface and through the use of some fantastic sound design. This gives them a sense of real threat even before they wreck some fools.

Kin. Image Credit: Lionsgate.
When they introduce the more Science Fiction elements they are really well designed. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

When it comes to the story, look I am a sucker for films that explores the complex interactions of families, genetic and/or constructed. So the parts of the story where Jimmy is clumsily trying to protect Eli from his own mistake while also desperately trying not to focus it all the while as Balik is coming down like a ton of bricks was really interesting. It is in these quiet moments where the film really builds an interesting mood based in part on the great acting of Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, and Zoë Kravitz who joins them on the journey.

However, there is a big problem with this film and I think that can be traced down to the fact that I think the narrative would have worked better in a TV series. To explore why we need to look at the plot in detail, so there will be [SPOILERS] for the rest of this paragraph. Because the film only has 90 minutes to develop the story the pacing just does not feel right. The first part of the film almost feels rushed in the need to get them out on the road trip that it feels like we just get the plot-relevant bits of Eli and Hal’s relationship before Hal is killed. Indeed, Hal’s death comes off more as stubbornness or stupidity than standing on principle because we have not had the time to get to know him. The rest of the film is then predicated on moving everyone towards the big twist reveal at the end, which interesting didn’t feel like there had been enough groundwork to really make you go wow. If the story had time to slowly develop if we had a bit more time to explore the characters, I think some of the plot points would have hit a lot better, and as it is it felt like the story was already a little episodic almost like it was leaning that way already.

Kin. Image Credit: Lionsgate.
While there are some pacing issues, the film really shines at times. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

So in the end, do we recommend Kin? Yes, yes we would. Look it does have its issues, but at the core, I think there is a strong story and a strong cast. Also, newcomer Myles Truitt absolutely nails it in his first major film project. It is a cool sci-fi/road trip/family centred film, where everyone is hiding something and a secret is hurtling towards them, so a good time all around.       

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Kin?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Kin
Directed by
– Jonathan Baker & Josh Baker
Screenplay by – Daniel Casey
Based on – Bag Man by Jonathan Baker & Josh Baker
Music by – Mogwai
Cinematography by – Larkin Seiple
Edited by – Mark Day
Production/Distribution Companies – Summit Entertainment, No Trace Camping, 21 Laps Entertainment & Lionsgate
– Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Dennis Quaid, James Franco and Michael B. Jordan
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: na; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.