'Kin' Review: A stunningly unique sci-fi crime thriller with a twist

Lionsgate's 'KIN' will keep you on the edge of your seat in this unpredictable story about family, sacrifice and the unknown.


                            'Kin' Review: A stunningly unique sci-fi crime thriller with a twist

Filmmakers Jonathan and Josh Baker blew their first feature film out of the park with their gritty and suspenseful sci-fi crime thriller 'Kin'. While 'Kin' is the Baker brothers' first feature film, it is hardly their first stint in show business.  With over 15 years of filmmaking experience collaborating with award-winning creatives, as well as having directed a multitude of commercials for companies like Nike, Beats By Dre, Google, Sony, HP and more, it was only a matter of time before the Baker brothers created a superb film like 'Kin.'  'Kin' was actually adapted from their short film 'Bag Man', which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in 2015. 'Bag Man' received rave reviews and created enough buzz that it began to have a pretty hefty cult following. 

Directing duo brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker (Lionsgate)
Directing duo brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker (Lionsgate)

Starring Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, Dennis Quaid, James Franco and newcomer Myles Truitt, 'Kin' follows adopted brothers (Reynor and Truitt) who are forced to go on the run, being chased by a vengeful villain (Franco). While this might seem like a familiar story, it is far from it.  In addition to being chased by a dangerous criminal that is out for blood, their sole protection is a mysterious weapon that is not from this world. Consequently, they are also being chased by a group of unknown individuals in an attempt to retrieve this mysterious and dangerous weapon.

Newcomer Myles Truitt shines as Eli, a fourteen-year-old boy adopted into a family of sorrow and danger. Tragedy strikes and Eli is taken on the road trip of a lifetime filled with new experiences, fun, danger and life-altering events.  Reynor plays our anti-hero, Eli's older brother Jimmy, who is an ex-con that gets himself and his family into lethal danger. Reynor brings a vulnerability to his character that keeps viewers rooting for him, even though his actions and choices are far from admirable. Franco brings us a villain similar to his role in 'Spring Breakers,'  but still does so with an alarming vigor, making this character probably his most terrifying to date.  

Myles Turitt as Eli (Lionsgate Facebook)
Myles Turitt as Eli (Lionsgate Facebook)

About 40 percent into the film, you get the feeling it is in dire need of a strong female lead. When Jimmy takes Eli to a strip club, they get into another violent altercation but this time with the owners of the club. After having spent hours with Eli and Jimmy,  one of the strippers Milly (played by the charming Zoe Kravitz) decides to run off with them on this epic adventure to escape a lifestyle that she has become stuck in.

As if all of the violence, drama, and mystery wasn't enough to make this movie a great crime thriller, there is also the sci-fi aspect of the film that completely turns the story on its head, in the best way possible.  Produced by the same team that did 'Arrival' and 'Stranger Things,'  it makes sense that this dark gritty film takes the turn into the world of science fiction. However, does this tonal addition really add to the film or did it take away from the original story? 

While there are moments where the audience is thinking, "what is going on?  This came out of nowhere," all in all, the sci-fi element adds to the story and doesn't take away from the central plot, it supports it. In fact, due to the sci-fi element of the film, it not only begs a sequel but probably deserves a franchise.

James Franco in Lionsgate's 'Kin'
James Franco in Lionsgate's 'Kin'

Tonally, the Baker brothers do a wonderful job of setting up the story and igniting visceral feelings from the audience with its dark colors, music that is either somber or anxious and even moments of comedy to lighten up this grey yet thrilling film. 

The best way to describe 'Kin' is that it is a rollercoaster.  With twists and turns audiences don't see coming, creating a real sense of panic and fear for these characters and leaving us on the edge of our seats.  Bravo to the Baker brothers for bringing this thrilling, complicated and unique story to life.

Lionsgate will release this dynamic sci-fi thriller on August 31st.  Watch the trailer here: