Vincent D’Onofrio/ USA/ 2019/ 100 mins
Available on DVD from Mon 3 June 2019
The current state of the Western is a funny one. On one hand the genre is going through somewhat of a renaissance with films like The Sisters Brothers, Brimstone and Slow West breathing new life in to a genre that had lain dormant since the 70s, and on the other hand the Western seems to be the chosen genre for the majority of straight-to-DVD schlock that finds its way in to your local supermarket. It will never reach the heights it once did in its hay day of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood pictures but one thing is certain, and that the genre is in the best health it has been in in a very long time.
With this in mind, when Vincent D’Onofrio announced he was making a western with Ethan Hawke and Chris Pratt, following the story of a young boy who comes of age around the encounters of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, it seemed destined for greatness, but instead, fell flat.
Firstly, and most importantly, is the lack of passion felt throughout the film. It never feels like a film that D’Onofrio was desperate to make, it just feels like a script he decided to take in order to get another director credit under his belt. This is mostly felt through the production. Everything feels lazy from the cinematography, to the editing, and down to the choreography. In past legendary Westerns there has been beautiful camera work showing the sprawling landscapes, as well as wonderfully executed gun fights and duels. Sure, the action scenes in the movie certainly up the excitement of the film but that does not mean that they are executed well. The film coming across as lazy isn’t helped when the producers son and directors daughter are cast as the lead brother and sister in the film. As for the son it certainly was not due to his talent.
D’onofrio definitely shouldn’t give up on directing but he has a very long way to go. Hopefully he can learn from his mistakes, take it more seriously in future, and return with a good follow up film.
The A-list cast, arguably the films main attraction, managed to leave their mark but were ultimately under-utilised (with the exception of Ethan Hawke).
The Kid was a promising film that failed to live up to its own hype from the get go. The filmmaker’s views and approach to the project are what were ultimately its downfall, thanks to a lack of passion or effort, leading to an ultimately disappointing film.