Charlie Plummer is fantastic in his first major role as the titular Jack. His portrayal of a kid with a youthful innocence while simultaneously trying to be the tough guy is commendable. Despite his I-don’t-care attitude, we see through that tough outer shell to a sweet interior, and this makes him extremely likeable. The supporting actors, including Yainis Ynoa and Cory Nichols who all give great, natural performances as well, make this narrative feel more like a documentary in the best way possible.
Thompson paints the small, lower class town with a bluish hue- giving it a muggy feeling. The cinematography alone elicits sensations of groggy days and mosquito-infested nights. It’s the type of town where kids throw rocks for fun, smoke and drink before noon, and pick fights basically because there is nothing better to do. Displaying such a strong sense of the surroundings practically makes this unnamed town a character of its own.
“King Jack” won the Audience Award at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and it’s not hard to see why. Jack is the type of hero we like and root for, his pure heart and sensitive soul make him a strong lead. The story is not groundbreaking and, certainly, this type of cliché, coming-of-age film has been told before and will be again, but this one makes for a great addition to the genre. Ultimately, this is a story about friendship and realizing that the best way to navigate through life is to value your connection with others.
“King Jack” is not rated. Opens in theaters at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 and on demand Friday, 6/10.