In 2018, heads have turned to the Australian market with releases such as Upgrade and Occupation shining a spotlight on local talent. Joining the list of acclaimed Australian directors are brother duo Jonathan and Josh Baker, who present KIN, a coming of age story that combines strong science fiction elements with the New York streets that they know well.
The story follows Eli (Myles Truitt), a young boy who becomes witness to an otherworldly shoot-out, discovering an unusual-looking weapon that seems to activate whilst holding.
Upon the prison release of his brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor), Eli is reconnected, though it seems Jimmy is harboring a more pressing need: to pay back local gangster Taylor (James Franco), the man who kept him alive inside. Hitting the road after a dangerous attempt to secure the money, Jimmy and Eli are not only chased by a criminal bent on revenge, but two otherworldly beings in pursuit of their missing hardware. With the help of a friendly stranger named Milly (Zoe Kravitz), the two brothers quickly realize the consequences of their actions, and their secrets.
KIN manages to immerse you into a world of the unknown. Standing as one of the most unique and unconventional approaches to the genre, here are some reasons why it should be added to your 2018 must watch list.
The relationship between Eli and Jimmy proves to be thicker than blood, but not only does the film feature a brother duo on screen, the Bakers’ off screen relationship is the real standout. Living in NYC, the brothers earned their keep in the advertising world, finding a way to tell elevated and original stories that are grounded in classic genre themes. With a unique voice, they created character-driven narratives, showcasing an artful, yet gritty style that throws the audience into a new world. It would be a safe assumption when guessing the brothers used their own relationship as inspiration for Eli and Jimmy.
Debuting their short film Bag Man to rave reviews at the SXSW Film Festival in 2015, the Baker brothers had the foundations and inspiration for KIN grounded. Following a young boy with a mysterious duffle bag in hand, on an introspective journey out of the city and into the remote countryside of upstate New York, Bag Man left its audience wanting more.
For many, KIN is a twist on a classic tale of adventure and mystery. Josh Baker states, “This movie was our version of the Sword In The Stone fable.” Jonathan Baker adds, “It’s about a boy whose experienced loss and is drawn to something that only he can hold and ultimately wield. This is the sci-fi version of a very familiar tale. Only here we have a 14-year-old boy holding an alien weapon.” The weapon serves as a practical defense, but is purely symbolic that channels different elements of classic science fiction weapons.
KIN invites an eclectic cast including Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road, Divergent) and Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow, Frequency), who join up-and-coming stars Jack Reynor and Myles Truitt. Though the trailer summons something a bit darker, with James Franco bringing to fruition a true evil, previously seen in The Vault and Spring Breakers, a perfect contrast between character narratives sets the scene for a film predominantly on the road.
KIN is in cinemas on August 30.