Posted under: EIFF
Ever since his Emmy award-winning performance as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul has been rather lost in his acting career but, with Hellion, it looks like the actor has finally found his feet in this dramatic thriller.
Written and directed by Kat Candler, Hellion, adapted from her 2012 short, sees Josh Wiggins' 13 year-old Jacob's life of vandalism force his 10 year-old brother, Wes (Deke Garner), away to live with his aunt and he and his emotionally unstable father, Hollis (Aaron Paul), must finally take responsibilty for their actions and must come together in order to bring Wes home.
The emotional background to the story is potent, made clear from the film's opening which sees Jacob smashing up a car outside the local sports centre, with his little brother and friends, rage and emotion seeping through his skin and clear on his face. The recent loss of their mother, Rebecca, isn't obvious at first, given away slowly, which adds a lot of richness to the character's attachment to her and in finding their motivations.
It is dramatic but, in the end, is not as dramatic as it should've, could've, been.
Just as the plot gets emotional and really draws you, something happens and the drama is lost which is ashame as it can be really moving at times.
Also, the story is rather clichéd with the thrilling aspect thrown at times, not so gripping, and the plot can get a bit tangled at times too, occasionally dragging slightly. But, it is well written and masterfully directed by Candler. It's obvious that she knows what she's doing.
Paul, whose career has gone from dumb to dumber since his departure from Pinkman, with none of the roles exactly working for him, really pulls through and finds his feet in this neat little indie as the emotionally unstable Hollis, a father that has lost his drive and turned to drink in order to drown out his many sorrows.
He pours heartfelt acting into this role and grounds the emotion that we see. We just need to look in his red, panicked eyes to see how much he is hurting and to feel towards his wrecked character.
He drinks. He's a mess. But you can see why, because, in spite of all of it, he tries to be there for his family and he tries to take responsibility for his actions and make things right.
There are also nice performances from Juliette Lewis, as Hollis' older sister, and Garner, as the innocent Wes getting caught up in Jacob's mischief, that reflect nicely off Paul, strengthening him and complementing his ace performance.
But it is newcomer Wiggins that steals the show. From the opening, it is clear he is perfect for this role. Jacob is troubled but, again, it is understandable seeing his position and Wiggins is brilliant in conveying the troubled teen, scarred by his childhood (loss of mother and alcoholic, almost insane father), and his performance is bold and the viewer really connects to him and can feel for the lost child, innocent at heart.
He also shares some really beautifully strong scenes with both Paul and Garner that are powerful and not unmoving.
Hellion is a dramatic drama, driven primarily by Kat Candler's wonderful directing and ace cast performances , that will leave you slightly moved, although it's sturdy plot is easily forgettable.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.