YOUNG ONES | MOVIE REVIEW

YOUNG ONES is an incredibly bleak look that is completely realistic in its views of a possible outcome for mankind. It is a dystopian Western styled science-fiction thriller that looks at a world with dwindling water supplies and what we, as human’s struggling without water, will do to survive. I was determined to see this movie before writing my Top 20 Films for 2014 but missed it at every film festival and ended up importing it on Blu Ray from Germany. It was one of the last movies I reviewed for the year and glad I did, it came in at Number 7 in my Top 20 Films of 2014. I do believe you can probably buy it on iTunes or Blu Ray online – not officially available in Australia just yet. I would put it down as an MA rated movie and it runs for 100mins.

 

YOUNG ONES MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
SALTY POPCORN AWARDS | JK’S TOP 20 MOVIES OF 2014 | YOUNG ONES

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

YOUNG ONES is set in a very possible future of planet Earth. While technology has flourished, as usual resources have dwindled, the largest resource that is fast disappearing is water, a resource the human race cannot live without, most farms are barren and water is now controlled by large corrupt corporations that channel it into cities that are fenced cities for the more affluent people to live in. Eernest Holm (Michael Shannon) is a now honest farmer who delivers rations to people working the water pipes for a living while his farm lays as dust. He has a dark future of violence that left his mum in a paralysed state, only able to move with robotics in a hospital. This occurred through drinking and now Ernest is a clean man trying to do the best for his children in the hope that water will eventually come and salvage his once flourishing farmland. He refuses to illegally bribe the water workers to channel water to his farmland and as such he will always miss out.

His children are quiet and innocent and brought into a world no child deserves, his son Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee) idolises his father and thinks of ways to improve their lot, he is also incredibly creative, escaping into his art for inspiration and solitude. His daughter, Mary (Elle Fanning) hates her lot in life, she is a house woman and manages the farm, as basically a maid, she knows what happened to her mother and blames her father for everything that has happened to their family.

Then there is Flem Lever (Nicholas Hoult), a young man that has some nefarious plotted plans to own the Holm farm, he sees potential and possibility and when Ernest will not partner with him he makes his own plans to better his lot in life.

 

YOUNG ONES MOVIE IMAGE
YOUNG ONES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | JEROME (KODI SMIT-MCPHEE), KATHERINE (AIMEE MULLINS) & ERNEST (MICHAEL SHANNON) HOLM

 

Firstly, the biggest and only letdown for this movie is just the title, ridiculous – it has absolutely nothing to do with the movie besides letting you know there are a few young people in the cast. I would have gone with PARCHED LANDS, or DRY SOULS, or just something basic like BLEAK. Most people would have been looking for an English comedy starring some idiot anarchist uni students :). But besides the title, that was it for me, the film is near perfect.

It is directed by Jake Paltrow, who is the brother of Gwyneth and his vision of the future is very sunburnt farmlands (another great title for the movie!). Everything about the movie is washed out and sun bleached being void of any contrast or bright colours. It is also the same with the script, it is there, it is simple and it basically steers important plot points, but it never spells everything out to you, you are there to observe the future and make decisions on your own. It is for this reason the film probably got limited commercial release, this is sci-fi Western art house that can only be appreciated for its brilliance by people who will see the undertones and incredible stories and motives in the cast, that are never explained to you in neon lighting.

 

YOUNG ONES MOVIE IMAGE
YOUNG ONES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ERNEST HOLM (MICHAEL SHANNON) WITH THE TRANSPORTER

 

Shannon gives a subtle performance as the struggling dad doing his best against a tide that won’t turn, he sees little he can do to improve things while maintaining a moral stand in life, but he does it anyway as he does not want his kids to think anything less of him after his past. Elle Fanning has a similar performance, very understated but also on the border of insanity at such a mundane, bleak and secluded life. Hoult is amazing – I love the guy – he is manipulative, determined and desperate to keep a grasp of his plans as they slowly fall apart around him. But the main reason I wanted to see this movie, Kodi Smit-McPhee, one of my favourite actors, and Australian actors, a kid I have watched grown from ROMULUS, MY FATHER, to THE ROAD, MATCHING JACK, LET ME IN, THE CONGRESS, ROMEO AND JULIET, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and many an upcoming movie, including the lead role in the soon to commence television series GALLIPOLI. His acting style I predicted back in MATCHING JACK is so nuanced and internalised, especially for someone so young, that if he keeps with it he will eventually own Hollywood and respect from the industry. He has never done anything to alter my thoughts on this. His performance in YOUNG ONES is so subtle, so nuanced and so powerful, you have this kind of murderous building expectation from him. That one shot of him seeing what happened sealed the deal for me – the kid is a freaking genius.

 

YOUNG ONES MOVIE IMAGE
YOUNG ONES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | JEROME HOLM (KODI SMIT-MCPHEE) & FLEM LEAVER (NICHOLAS HOULT) SITTING ON THE PORCH

 

As I said, this film will not be for everyone, but for me it was a work of surprising genius for a future that is so plausible and subtle that I truly do fear for our future if we keep on the path we are on.

If you have or plan on seeing it let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

 

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