King Jack full movie review - Brutal, damnable and inexcusable. A story about bullying and the struggle for survival of a young boy.
"You know why people call me Scab? Tom started it. When I was little. My dad had this nickname for me. He used to call me King Jack. Tom didn't like it."
"King Jack" isn't exactly a happy movie. It's rather depressing. And at the same time you'll witness in this social drama how unwritten laws are maintained between raging young people who are living in slums and at the same time are eager to kick each others butt. For those who have been a victim of bullying and experienced an embarrassing moment (posting a not so kosher photo on social media for example) will certainly sympathize with Jack's (Charlie Plummer) situation. An unhinged teenager who undergoes daily harassment's of an older boy named Shane (Danny Flaherty). Shane himself once was the same kind of misfit who suffered from the harassment of Jack's brother Tom (Christian Madsen). So, you could say it's sort of a delayed revenge.
The film is a snapshot in Jack's life. The film covers just a single day and shows in this short period of time how Jack's seemingly meaningless existence is turned upside down. And this because of the arrival of Jack's nephew Ben (Cory Nichols). An introvert, chubby kid whose father dumped him there, because apparently an accident happened to his mother (probably in a mental way when you take Jack's remark "Sorry your mum went crazy" into account). The attitude of Ben towards Jack is correspondingly. The result is passive behavior between the two estranged relatives and Ben clearly showing that he isn't so pleased with the whole situation. However, as the two hang out more, the hostile atmosphere (with Jack clarifying his strict rules and making it clear that Ben should simply shut up the whole time) makes room for a cautious but pleasant boyish friendship. Two teenagers who are talking about their favorite superhero and who are playing baseball. A friendly atmosphere which is eventually disturbed by a confrontation with Shane. And ultimately this leads to an extremely violent denouement.
"King Jack" is a typical coming-of-age film mixed with a tale about the growing-pains of teenagers in an aggressive and poor neighborhood. Expect some timid attempts from Jack trying to deal with peers of the opposite sex. But especially Shane's blatant bullying and Jack's rebellious answer to that (including painting a dirty word on the garage at Shane's home) is the central topic in this film. It doesn't really have an impressive plot but it's supported by a strong and capable cast. On the one hand Plummer as Jack who's both selfish and combative at the same time. And he does that brilliantly. A superb achievement with Plummer applying both toughness and vulnerability perfectly. But especially Flaherty impressed me. From the first moment he came in the picture, a feeling of dislike for this individual arose inside me. Shane is a first class asshole and a sadistic coward. He's really such a creep I would love to kick in the crotch with a heavy boot. And the moment he's defeated by someone of the same caliber, and he's begging like a scared, pathetic loser, I couldn't avoid to gloat. "King Jack" is a dark and touching melodrama. Worth a look anyway.
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