Monday, 29 August 2016

Little Men Review

Written by David Cuevas

In a year… No, in a Quinquennium full of huge blockbusters with over the top action and acting, it’s rare that, we, film goers, can find a simpler or even quieter film to enjoy. Even in independent films, they have gotten a bit more chaotic than usual. Just this year, we had the following films: Green Room, Swiss Army Man, The Lobster, The Neon Demon, Demolition, and Midnight Special. Of course we had some quiet films, such as Borealis (it’s an unpopular Canadian drama, okay!), The Meddler, and that god awful film that I despise, The Man who knew Infinity…. UGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! So to get to the point, Little Men joins the rankings of the quaint and quiet unpopular films collection. The best thing that I can say about Little Men, is that it was simple, but effective. Character motivations, plot, and morals were very well structured which makes the film more believable. I came into this film blindly. All I knew about the film was that it was about a boy, and someone who died in his family. To be honest, this is all you need to know. I thought going into the film almost blindly, helped me enjoy the structured part of the film. 

Another thing that I heavily praise about the film, is that it felt more like a better version of Boyhood. Even though Boyhood has a massive run time of 165 minutes (2 hours and 35 minutes), it never fully delved into relationships between friends, neighbors, and even community. Admittedly, in a few scenes they do show this message, but not as many then you think. Little Men has a short run time of 85 minutes (1 hour and 25 minutes), and demonstrates these themes with great determination. It doesn’t shy away from the other people surrounding the plot. Even though some sub-plots that happen during the film, are a tad bit slow, but in the long term, it helps advance the plot and characters of the feature. 
Speaking in a matter of characters, all the actors who play there roles, deserve a plaque for most overlooked acting ensemble of 2016… So far of course. All the actors deserve more recognition desirably, and this definitely includes Michael Barbieri and Greg Kinnear, who were the stand outs. Barbieri plays a kind a Boston/jersey kid who matches his tone and accent with near perfection. Every time he says something, it’s almost like you can “feel” his character. This makes him more likable as a character in the film, and is over all effective. Kudos to you Barbieri! As for Kinnear, in previous films, I felt like he didn’t show all he's got. I’m talking about Little Miss Sunshine and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. He was just meh in those films. But in this film, the tables turned, and he truly plays a believable, motivated, and complex character in the film. As for everybody else, there were all solid. I do have some minor nitpicks for Theo Taplitz performance as our main protagonist, Jake. His acting at times felt very robotic, even to the point of Kristen Stewart in Twilight kind of level.
As for the negative, I did felt the music was a bit overused. I’m not saying the songs were bad or anything, heck, I would get the soundtrack on a CD (or if it’s not available in Canada, I’ll just get it on ITunes. The problem is that I heard the main theme song four times during the run time of the film. It’s not like in a Spielberg film where they play the popular verse and continue it with something new. No, it’s the same exact freakin song. Understandably, the film did have a low budget, but there was no reason to edit around the soundtrack. Heck, the film doesn’t have much music in the first place, so why didn’t they just cut off one song! Also about the editing, too much fade outs. I hate it when that happens! THERE’S SOMETHING CALLED CROSSFADES FOR A REASON! You know what, forget it. It’s excusable. In the end, Little Men is an effective piece of media, with compelling characters and a solid plot. Definitely in the Top 10 Character Pieces of the year.

Rating: 8.1/10

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