Studio: Phase 4
Directed by Rebecca Thomas; Starring: Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, and Liam Aiken
Mar 08, 2013
Issue #44 - Best of 2012 - Grimes
Filmgoers might recognize lead actress Julia Garner and her trademark blonde curls from brief appearances in Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Here she gives a breakout performance as 15-year-old Rachel, a Mormon girl living in 1990s rural Utah who believes she's been immaculately impregnated after listening to rock music on a cassette tape for the first time. A pregnancy test administered by her mother (Cynthia Watros) returns positive results, but she continues to deny to her parents that she's had sex—she hasn't—and her brother Will (Liam Aiken) is suspected of doing the deed. When Rachel's father (Billy Zane in a juicy role) arranges a marriage for her, she flees in the night to Las Vegas to search for the father of her child, thinking that he's the singer on the cassette.
The premise is laughable, but writer-director Rebecca Thomas, who has a Mormon background, embraces the absurdity with a tender touch free of cynicism. Certain segments bring to mind Terence Malick, as dreamy montages are accompanied by Rachel's cassette-recorded voice-overs. When Rachel arrives in Vegas, she discovers that Will secretly has stowed away with her. From there, they become entrenched with a band of grungy musicians and skate kids led by Rory Culkin's Clyde, and the film lapses into familiar hayseed-in-the-city hijinks. Offsetting some of the predictability is film's youthful spirit—Rachel's inquisitive innocence, as portrayed by Garner, Aiken stealing scenes as the rigid Will—along with some arresting location photography captured by Mattias Troelstrup. (http://electrickchildren.com)
Author rating: 6/10