Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Boy: Memory Lane Greed Decade Noir Channels The Present Moment In Time

In no way Boyhood, The Bad Seed/Bates Motel coincidental spinoff with figurative morbidity rates, meets Greed Decade Noir in The Boy. Rather a 20th century memory lane melancholy lapse into economic crisis period doom not unlike today, as the bad boy in question (Jared Breeze) veers in this slowly simmering, psychologically dense portrait, between victim and villain. And mischievously confounding audience senses, as much as the festering young psychopath Ted sadistically toys with his selected human targets.

Ted is a sullen, bored nine year old consigned to seemingly living against his will with his single dad at their remote, isolated and barely visited mountain top family motel. Ted's mother apparently bolted from the financially struggling establishment for Florida long ago, with a trucker checking in one night. And since then, Ted has been abnormally self-entertaining somewhat during the long, lonely days, by setting primitive road kill traps out of discarded food scraps, for unfortunate wild animals crossing the adjoining highway. And bizarre trophies which his too distracted for quality time dad (David Morse) inexplicably rewards with spare change, eagerly detailed by the boy in the motel ledger.

But this pathological pastime takes a progressively darker turn, as occasional guests arrive inspiring Ted to experimental fantasies with human subjects instead. And in part on a more sympathetic note for the psychopathic, scarred kid - if possible - to emotionally ensure he's never traumatically abandoned again as his mother did. And even if that means a kind of terminal roach motel scenario, with those transients never checking out again. A notion Ted picks up in part from a mysterious nomadic guest (Rainn Wilson) likewise into inconsolable grief manifested by carting around the bagged cremated remains of a loved one.

The Boy (directed by Craig William Macneill and adapted from the Clay McLeod Chapman novel), would likewise seem to be part of a trend in movies (Dark Places, Chloe And Theo, The Boy Next Door, Sinister 2) with children lashing out against the older generation during this period of profound economic crisis. And not unlike the Greed Decade and its primary obsession with money during which the story is set - for depriving them of any sense of future - financial, emotional or otherwise, in the process.

On a side note, Elijah Wood is a producer of The Boy. An interesting twist to the proceedings, as Wood segued in his own boyhood reveries on screen from Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, into the more sinister fare lately of Grand Piano, Cooties, Wilfred, Open Windows, and The Last Witch Hunter.

Prairie Miller

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