Actors: Aaron Paul, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Dalton Sutton
Director: Kat Candler
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2014
Run Time: 99 minutes
Hellion will likely soon blend into my memory alongside countless other coming-of-age independent films of its kind, but that doesn’t make it any less effective as a film. Never boring and rarely inauthentic, despite numerous sequences of contrived melodramatic events, Hellion is a solid film, however unnecessary it may be. I only wish that writer/director Kat Candler had put more depth into the narrative of the characters. They respond emotionally to situations in the narrative, but not enough background is given to understand why they are reacting. It becomes an exercise in acting, which may be successful but doesn’t make for a memorable narrative.
The film mostly follows the escapades of rebellious teenager Jacob (newcomer Josh Wiggins), who is being raised by his single dad alongside his younger brother in an impoverished refinery town in
Emmy Award-winner Aaron Paul makes the step into more mature roles as their
hard-drinking father, who does his best to raise the children while living with
the grief from the loss of their mother. When Child Protective Services take
his younger brother away, Jacob spirals even further out of control. At his
best, Jacob is rebelling with the help of motocross and heavy metal, though he
turns to illegal activities when even these fail to placate his rage.
Jacob’s brother, Wes (newcomer Deke Garner) is placed in the custody of his Aunt Pam (Juliette Lewis), which is an unfortunately thinly developed character. We never understand the full story behind her relationship with their father, and as a result her selfish decisions seem spiteful simply for the sake of melodrama. The DVD special features include the original short film that inspired this feature, which helps explain some of the back-story for the characters, though most tend to watch the extras after the feature.
The special features also include a behind-the-scenes featurette, footage from the premiere at Sundance, and a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 4/10