King Kelly


King Kelly


“Gimmick” movies are nothing new. Split screen (Timecode), real time (Nick Of Time), found footage (The Blair Witch Project), different endings (Clue), and the quandary that is 3D (We pull this out every 10 years or so… but you’re right, this time it will last… oh, and that girl who cheated on you all those times? She totally won’t do it again.). Sometimes the gimmick is just that a gimmick. It’s there because the film needs something to set it apart. It adds nothing and is accepted for what it is, a throw away attempt to get people interested in something that is not that interesting. Other times it’s more than a gimmick and actually adds something to the themes and the narrative.

“King Kelly,” by Andrew Neel is shot entirely on cell phones held by the actors. It’s an interesting idea that takes the found footage movie into a new and interesting direction. In this case the gimmick is more than just a gimmick; it’s necessary from both a thematic and narrative viewpoint.

Today’s youth are oversexed, spoiled, hedonistic, entitled monsters filled with unearned confidence and who live in a consequence free world of instant gratification. Welcome to the YouTube generation! Fame whores to the left, star fuckers to the right, and boundless self esteem for all… or something like that.

It’s a growing caricature that is no more true today than any of the other sweeping generational characterizations.

The 60’s were a time of hippies, but it was also the time of young people who hated hippies.

The 70’s were a time of drugs and disco as well as The Ramones and death to disco.

The 80’s saw greed, materialism, selfishness, and charity in equal measures.

Hell, my generation produced as many well adjusted and productive members of society as we did angst filled, overeducated poets in shitty bands.

Sadly, generations are defined by whatever slogan ready group the media can prop up, so welcome to it kids. You are now known by the worst of you.

“King Kelly” is a movie about the worst of the worst. It is the story of Kelly, a young woman (I would have guessed mid teens by her behavior, but according to the director she is in her early 20’s) named Kelly, who is known as King Kelly on her live sex webcam show.

Right off the bat I cannot think of a more loathsome, selfish, annoying, and completely awful human being than Kelly.

The only think worse than her complete narcissism and self absorbed view of the world is her aggressive and restless immaturity.

She is a child who has grown accustomed to getting her way because she is pretty. She lives in a world of selfish hedonism inhabited by living props there for her amusement. Her every thought and action can be recorded an posted for the world to see and therefore it’s important.

The story follows her through one very dark night as she tries to get back a package that she was transporting for some dangerous people. Things go from bad to worse to unimaginable as she manipulates, betrays, and uses every person she can in a quest to cover her own ass.

I have a problem with protagonists like this. She is completely unlikable and seems completely OK with that. She always gets her way so she is oblivious to the fact that her actions have consequences, both for herself and for those around her.

That is my only problem with the film, but it’s a big one. It is an inventive film that looks good and has strong performances from a young cast and the story move at a good pace and it’s an interesting descent to some pretty dark places.

But God DAMN, I cannot stress how much I hated Kelly. At every step I was waiting for someone to punch her in the face. She was such an overwhelmingly annoying, dismissive, self absorbed imbecile that it was impossible for me to wish for anything but her to get knocked down.

In the end “King Kelly” is a well made, interesting, and inventive look at a generation that is being defined by its worst elements that would have been fantastic had the protagonist shown any sign of humanity, humility, respect, or redemption. She doesn’t.


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