Writer/director Rebecca Thomas delivers a small and quiet indie film that’s entirely self-assured and impressive as a debut feature. The Kickstarter-funded film contains enough mysticism and open-ended narrative techniques to leave the viewer intrigued throughout, while never stooping so low as to force-feed all the answers as an insult.
Rachel (Julia Garner) becomes pregnant via immaculate conception. She runs away and joins a band playing down in Las Vegas. Garner plays the lead role with a level of quiet confidence and assured skill. We want nothing more than to follow her on her journey. However, it’s Rory Culkin who steals the show. As Clyde, Culkin gets all of the best lines and moments in the film.
Thomas also greatly uses some excellent humour in this fish-out-of-water story. Every opportunity that’s used creates several amusing scenes. Moments such as a game of “Never Have I Ever” or the first experience taking drugs are highlights.
The one problem, however, is that it feels a little too rushed in the last 20 minutes or so. The film moves along at an excellent pace, with no scene feeling too sluggish or unnecessary. Then in the last portion, the proceedings feel disappointingly rushed compared to the rest.
The film avoids being overly judgmental in its subject matter in favour of being a well-written and nicely acted character piece. It’s a well-told yarn seen through the rose-filtered eyes of a young girl that’s just looking for answers.
Like The Kings of Summer and The Way Way Back, Electrick Children is an excellent example of counter-programming to all of Hollywood’s loud, expensive and entirely bombastic blockbusters. Vegas baby! Vegas!
Electrick Children will screen on August 9 at Rotary Park in partnership with Bike-In Cinema and CUFF.
By Philip Clarke