Directed by Vincent D’onofrio (Daredevil and Full Metal Jacket ring a bell?), The Kid is a western drama focusing on the real-life figures of the infamous Billy The Kid (Dane DeHann) and Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke). Interwoven between accounts of their encounter, Rio Culter (Jake Schur) must go on the run after with his sister, after murdering his father in self-defence. Hot on the trail is Grant Cutler (Chris Pratt), Rio’s uncle, looking to seek revenge in the only way the west knows.
From the onset, it’s immediately apparent that The Kid has superb talent behind the camera (thanks to Matthew J. Lloyd and talented crewmates) and in the scoring department. The Kid is opulent to look at, as well as haunting to listen to. The Gaines Brothers score is simply put: sublime. Having worked together previously on The Magnificent Seven, it’s a powerhouse trio of acting to seeing Hawke / D’onofrio / Pratt back on the plains together.
D’onofrio takes aim and shoots for a gorgeous, contemplative journey with his directorial debut. Tying in real-life figures with a fictional narrative is always an ambitious choice, yet D’onofrio doubles down till the credits roll. Seeing Hawke back in the saddle after In A Valley of Violence (2016) is a welcome turn, as well as DeHaan clearly having fun channelling an outlaw’s presence. However, the stand out of the show is Pratt.
While his screen time may be close to brief, Pratt is an incendiary talent. Having being acclimated to his smooth and charismatic antics in the MCU as of late, Pratt his hand onto playing a true embodiment of vile, unfiltered menace. His piercing glare and stature dominate the frame no matter what the subject of the scene is. It’s unsettling to say the least.
While The Kid boasts impressive talent both behind and in front of the camera, unfortunately the pacing struggles to compliment what is clearly a passion project for D’onofrio. As I’ve mentioned, it’s exciting to see all this talent in the same space but it’s hindered by a lack of momentum that The Kid struggles to reclaim after it’s vicious opening sequence. The motivations of our characters, especially Billy, are at times confusing as to the actual logistics of them.
D’onofrio wants to share a story of the law’s place in the west but seems to fall into a place of romanticizing the brutality and carelessness of an outlaw’s trajectory.
The Kid may not hit every stride it wants to, but the talent on show, in tandem with an ambitious pathos from D’onofrio, make The Kid worth your while in the modern western world.
Lionsgate UK presents Ethan Hawke and Dane DeHaan in action-packed Western The Kid on Digital Download, Blu-ray & DVD from 3rd June
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dane DeHaan
Release Date: 3rd June 2019