3 items from 2012
Directed by Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson
Philadelphia Film Festival
Inevitable comparisons to Lord of the Flies or Battle Royale aside, Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson’s ‘kids-in-war’ film is a moderately successful drama. Clunky as a commentary, I Declare War is rather strong as a meditation on social cliques.
Pk (Gage Munroe) has won the last several wars. He’s a legend and his men mostly know it. But when a new war rival Quinn (Aidan Gouveia) challenges him, Pk and his soldiers will be tested. There’s also an X-factor in their midst. Jess (Mackenzie Munro) has her own agenda.
The big draw of I Declare War is the imaginative play between reality and fantasy. Tied together sticks become guns with a well-placed edit. Water balloons filled with paint become grenades with an explosion sound effect.
Sure, it’s a testament and celebration of the childhood imagination, »
- Neal Dhand
Jess (Mackenzie Munro) is the most intriguing character. As the lone girl, she exemplifies the cool, calm and collected approach to war. She is the master strategist of the group, keenly plotting a scheme that satisfies her own motives (to impress a boy); but that selfishness is really her only weakness (luckily for her the boys are too stupid to ever notice). Compared to Jess, the other thinker of the kids -- Pk (Gage Munroe) -- seems like a total hack who never clearly contemplates the pros and cons of each scenario; he never has an exit strategy. Jess is also able to use her feminine wiles to coerce most of the boys into doing her bidding; in other words, Jess is the one weapon that the boys are utterly defenseless against. I Declare War brilliantly captures the naïveté of adolescence, specifically the inability to separate reality from make-believe. The »
- Don Simpson
Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson's I Declare War is riddled with glaring, grating flaws. The performances from the young actors are inconsistent. The cinematography and effects look cheap. Character arcs and plotlines lose their energy and focus. And yet I Declare War is incredibly charming. It's fun watching kids be kids in a game adults have become too self-conscious to play. It has the vibe of a big, backyard movie that kids would make with their friends if they had a little more money and time. The picture also makes the worthwhile argument that coming-of-age means betrayal and jealousy, and that the kids games are about to vanish. Pk (Gage Munroe) and his friends are in the middle of a game of capture the flag. If you're hit with fake bullets, you're down for ten seconds; if you're hit with a blood balloon, you have to go home. The objective »
- Matt Goldberg
3 items from 2012
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