Writer/director Kat Candler's HELLION paints the powerful portrait of a family on the brink of dissolution set against the haunting backdrop of the refineries of Southeast Texas. Obsessed with heavy metal, dirt bike racing and partaking in the occasional act of vandalism with his band of delinquents, the behavior of 13-year-old Jacob Wilson (Josh Wiggins in his feature film debut) has begun to raise concerns around town, especially when it starts to involve his younger brother Wes (newcomer Deke Garner). While the boys' father Hollis (two-time Emmy Award-winner Aaron Paul) loves his sons, he is still reeling from the loss of their mother, spending more time drowning his sorrows at the local bar and working on his damaged beach house than being an active parent. (c) IFC Films … More
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Critic Reviews for Hellion
Despair is not quiet for a broken father (Aaron Paul) and his troublemaker sons in Kat Candler's brisk, transfixing drama, which takes place in blue-collar southeast Texas.
"Hellion" pads its slender, commonplace, but potentially rewarding premise with contrivances, clichés, repetitiousness, and, when all else fails, implausible, arbitrary melodrama.
Wiggins gives the boy's struggles a raw realism, but it's not enough to shore up this slackly paced slice of sunbaked Texas miserabilism.
Not that inarticulate characters can't be compelling if they are written with subtlety, acted with insight and, most of all, framed by a directorial vision, but "Hellion," despite a promising debut from Wiggins, falls short in at least two of the above.
The acting overall is strong, but Paul, still testing the waters after "Breaking Bad," is extraordinarily controlled.
The hellion of "Hellion" is Jacob Wilson, a 13-year-old Texas rebel with a cause. As played by a real teenager, Josh Wiggins, he's a force of nature.
"Hellion" just can't quite convince or coalesce its ideas of struggle, pain and fury in a meaningful or new way.
Hellion paints a plaintive portrait of a family trapped in the bottom echelon of America's middle class.
"Hellion" has nothing if not empathy for every one of its characters. But without a more original story or a distinctive visual presence, it's hard for it to rise above a crowded field.
The realism in "Hellion" is admirable, as are the actors' emotion performances. These wrenching qualities also make the film a tough sell.
The acting is stronger than the rest of the film itself, which sports far too much shaky camera work and a conclusion that is obviously foreshadowed by the appearance of a gun early on.
It takes a lot to stand out in a cast that includes Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis, but Josh Wiggins proves up to the task. It'll be fun to see where his career takes him next.
Raw and poignant, capturing the bursting aggression of early teenage years and the mummifying trance of grief. It's often heartbreaking and periodically frightening.
Candler's plotting is predictable and her characters should be substantially deepened, but her ability to capture the rage of male adolescence and the numbness of grief is nothing less than superb.
Everything about it is so indie that it feels like it's following a formula as rigid as that of any romcom or teen-meat-on-the-hoof slasher picture.
The relief you'll experience during the beautifully modulated ending to Hellion may elicit a heavy sigh, deep and gratifying.
With gorgeous cinematography and an exceptional cast, including a breakout performance from Josh Wiggins, Hellion allows its audience to travel the downward spiral of a broken family and is absolutely gripping thanks to its authentic feel.
Sharp performances provide a highlight in this otherwise muddled drama of family dysfunction.
Audience Reviews for Hellion
With a powerful performance by Aaron Paul and very believable teenagers played by the whole cast, "Hellion" is a deep and meaningful story that often fails to connect when it needs to, but other times when it does, it does so with vigorous pride. After the death of his wife, Hollis (Aaron Paul) must deal with his teenage son getting in trouble with the law and dragging his younger son into that trouble, all while dealing with a depressing drinking problem. There are many themes explored throughout this film, but it never seems lie enough, and I normally enjoy open endings to great films, so that it keeps me guessing, but this felt a little too unfinished for my liking. "Hellion" is a great story, told very well, but it is not without it's faults. Aaron Paul has a bright career ahead of him, and I cannot wait to see what he does next.More
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