The Kid (2019) Blu-ray
Magnificent Seven alums Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, and Vincent D'Onofrio reunite for The Kid, now on Blu-ray and Digital! Here's our review!
In this tale from the Old West, a young boy (Jake Schur) sets out to save his sister (Leila George) from his evil, abusive uncle (Chris Pratt), only to have his path cross with Billy the Kid (Dane DeHaan) and Sheriff Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke). Screenplay by Andrew Lanham. Directed by Vincent D’Onofrio.
The Kid is a gritty, superbly-acted film, a throwback to a time when mainstream Hollywood made westerns of consequence.
A mix of historical fact and fictional drama, The Kid is the second feature film to be directed by Emmy-nominated actor Vincent D’Onofrio, and rather than modernize the western, he embraces the traditions of the genre.
The film tells the story of brother and sister Rio and Sara Cutler (Jake Schur and Leila George), who go on the run from their abusive uncle Grant (Chris Pratt). The siblings cross paths with Billy the Kid (Dane DeHaan) and his gang, and Rio is immediately drawn to the outlaw.
Of course, Sheriff Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke) comes along and captures Billy, and Rio is torn between his new friendships with both the lawman and the outlaw. Things get complicated when Uncle Grant tracks the siblings down, and Rio must decide whether to seek help from Pat Garrett or Billy the Kid.
The Kid reunites several cast members from the recent Magnificent Seven remake: Hawke, Pratt, and D’Onofrio, and it’s obvious their camaraderie and familiarity translates to some solid performances. The cast, as a whole, is the film’s top draw, elevating Andrew Lanham’s strong screenplay.
Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Boyhood) delivers another superb performance, and his portrayal of Garrett as a principled lawman with a singular focus gives the film the moral center that propels the story forward. Dane DeHaan’s (Chronicle, The Amazing Spider-Man) Billy the Kid is the perfect antithesis to Hawke’s Garrett, and if there’s a negative to address here, it’s that their relationship doesn’t get as much screen time as you would hope.
Newcomer Jake Schur, in his first on-screen role, is surprisingly good as Rio. These days, young actors in dramatic roles are usually out of their depth, and struggle to convey authenticity. Schur has no such issues, and holds his own against the rest of the veteran cast. With so much of the story running through Schur’s character of Rio, the film could have easily derailed if his performance wasn’t believable. Not only is Schur up to the task, his performance (which involves a moral dilemma for his character) provides a solid foundation upon which the rest of the cast builds.
Leila George, the daughter of Vincent D’Onofrio and an established actress in her own right, is very good as Sara, in a difficult role to pull off. Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy. Jurassic World) chews up scenery as the villain, but he never takes it too over the top.
As the director, D’Onofrio methodically lays out the story and stays faithful to the character development, allowing the actors to flesh out their roles. He crafts the sort of western tale that we wouldn’t get from a major studio these days, and it will remind you of both John Ford’s epics and Clint Eastwood’s pre-Unforgiven classics like The Outlaw Josey Wales and Pale Rider.
Cinematographer Matthew Lloyd (Netflix’s ‘Daredevil,’ Spider-Man: Far From Home) compliments D’Onofrio’s vision well, creating an immersive world that doesn’t feel like a studio backlot set.
Thankfully, D’Onofrio doesn’t feel the need to make Billy the Kid a likable anti-hero, as many modern takes on the story try to do. Although DeHaan injects the character with lots of charisma, he’s still an outlaw, selfish and quick to violence. We all know how Billy’s story ends, so it isn’t much of a surprise to see how it plays out in the film, even though some artistic liberties were taken. It was a bit disappointing to see the character relegated to such a supporting role, and have such little consequence to the story overall.
The Kid is a solid, entertaining moral tale set in the Old West. The third act, which features the inevitable showdown with Pratt’s evil Uncle Grant, doesn’t quite pack the emotional punch you would hope it would. Though very well done and packed with fine performances from the A-list cast, The Kid doesn’t quite reach the levels of a classic western that it aspires to.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The Kid is a great looking film, and the high definition transfer compliments the cinematography well. There’s excellent detail in the image, and no film grain to speak of, as IMDB reports it was shot digitally. There’s no extensive manipulation of the gritty image, outside of what appears to be some minor muting of the colors.
The deep and understated color palette sells the western look well, and I had no complaints with the transfer overall. The 5.1 DTS MA-HD sound mix featured some nice surround effects during gun battles, and some decent channel separation throughout the film. There was the occasional use of hefty bass, but nothing too overpowering or out of place.
The Blu-ray is inexplicably scarce on extras, with only a single “making of” featurette as the only bonus feature. A more extensive look at the making of the film, or more insight from D’Onofrio and the cast and crew, would have been a great addition.
The bonus features are as follows:
“Making The Kid” featurette. Vincent D’Onofrio, Ethan Hawke and members of the cast and crew discuss the journey the film took from concept to screen. Worth watching just to see the interaction between D’Onofrio and his real-life daughter Leila George. It’s hilarious. Running Time: 9:26
Trailers. Several trailers for other Lionsgate features, including Cold Pursuit, Never Grow Old, and Hostiles, are included.
Digital Copy. A code for a digital copy of the film, compatible with services including VUDU and Fandango Now, is included. Lionsgate films are not compatible with Movies Anywhere at this time.
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Running Time: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish
Special Features: “Making The Kid” featurette, Trailers, Digital Copy.
MSRP: $21.99 (Blu-ray) $19.99 (DVD)