Spielberg eat your heart out, this is a real feel good movie
Not to be confused with that T.V. show thing. King of the Hill is one of the most vivid film experiences I remember as a child. No, I wasn't lucky enough to catch it on the big screen. Instead I rented it and watched it one night and was totally absorbed into it. Jesse Bradford, despite his current film career, did a damn fine job as Aaron Kurlander, a young boy struggling to survive during the Great Depression. He uses his wits and imagination to make the best out of the worst of times. Bradford was 12 or 13 years old at the time he filmed the movie and as an actor it must've been a heavy burden. The main focus is on him as its his story and shown from his point of view. Bradford doesn't let the ball drop once and more than carries his weight. It's another one of those rare great child performances. Jeroen Krabbé plays Aaron's (Bradford) father who is a struggling traveling salesman. Lisa Eichhorn plays his mentally unstable mother who goes in and out of various institutions. Rounding out the cast of the interesting people that fill Aaron's life are Karen Allen as the warm and understanding school teacher, Cameron Boyd his younger brother, Adrien Brody as the "cool" big brother figure, John McConnell as the fat and troublesome patrol cop, Elizabeth McGovern as a prostitute working in the same hotel Aaron lives at, and Spalding Gray as her creepy, manipulative, and suicidal pimp. So yes the film is filled to the brim with worth while supporting players adding so much depth and dimension to Aaron's world.
Soderbergh had double duty as writer and director. He scripted the novel by A.E. Hotchner and I think it's his best film. As I mentioned it takes place during the Great Depression in St. Louis Missouri. Watching Aaron fight for survival is one of the best charms of the film. It's done realistically. The audience is able to believe his methods. There's a nice mix of drama, dark somber humor and dire situations, but there's also enough humanity and hope in the movie to send an uplifting message. For those who enjoy Andy Dufresne's message of hope and persaverence in the more widely known The Shawshank Redemption, seek out this film. I would argue it's even superior to Frank Darabont's movie. It's one of the great and underrated modern films and ranks with the best using the Great Depression setting. Sadly King of the Hill isn't released yet on DVD and it's not very likely that you'll be able to find it at your local video store. Especially if all you have is the local communist Blockbuster near you. Anyway, King of the Hill should be regarded and known far more highly than what it is. It's a sin for a movie this great to not get its due.
24 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?