Stephanie Sokol for The Pit
When three teenage boys grow fed up with their lives, and parents, they decide to rebel. Teen angst leads them to create a place to call their own, where no one can find them. These are ‘The Kings of Summer.’
The Sundance film, shot in Ohio, opens with a foreshadowing scene, previewing the boys’ future lives out in the woods. Following the introduction, the audience sees what makes the boys want to change things—the annoyance they feel toward their families.
Character development was well done. The parent and son relationships were an element that made the movie relatable.
Joe Toy (played by Nick Robinson) and his father (Nick Offerman) didn’t get along. Patrick Keenan, played by Gabriel Basso, felt his parents were a bit overbearing at times. Biaggio’s (played by Moises Arias) father was there for advice, though not often.
Despite the boys’ original thoughts, it is clear later that their hate wasn’t genuine.
The interactions between parents and children are very convincing, further adding to the quality of the film. While the parents are sometimes upset or angry with their kids, they are also caring and concerned, which shows through in various scenes of the movie.
From left: Patrick Keenan (played by Basso), Biaggio (played by Moises Arias) and Joe Toy (played by Nick Robinson). The film released nationally May 31, 2013. The film opens June 7 in Detroit. Courtesy Photo.
The cast had great chemistry, making for an enjoyable movie. The boys seem to have a true bond – the friendship between Joe and Patrick is strong, and Biaggio, who joins the group as third wheel, soon becomes one of the boys.
While they go through ups and downs when living on their own, the boys maintain the level of closeness. Biaggio’s quirkiness fits right in as well, with his humorous antics occuring as the three try to live off nature.
In addition to casting the right people, the script was also well-done. Dialogue used was realistic, the perfect balance of curse words and other lingo used by young people. According to Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, some improv was sprinkled in as well, to simply embellish the movie, though not changing writer Chris Galleta’s original work.
Another element that really brought the movie to life was the film style. Shooting consisted of a combination of extreme close-up shots of nature, fading into wide shots of the boys living on their own, making for an interesting sequence of events. Clips of Joe’s thoughts were interesting, reminding the audience what it’s like to be a young dreamer.
The soundtrack was also a pivotal element that made the movie a success. Music varying from artists MGMT to Thin Lizzy helped combine old and new, making the movie a timeless throwback, as Vogt-Roberts described it.
While there were dramatic moments and hardship, the film was always light with hints of comedy to bring it back to the surface. ‘The Kings of Summer’ was a great and relatable movie, making light of the angst and adventures of adolescence.
Click here for a link to an interview with the director.