Time: 100 Minutes
Ethan Hawke as Pat Garrett
Dane DeHaan as Billy the Kid
Jake Schur as Rio Cutler
Leila George as Sara Cutler
Chris Pratt as Grant Cutler
Adam Baldwin as Bob Olinger
Vincent D’Onofrio as Sheriff Romero
Director: Vincent D’Onofrio
In 1879 Rio (Jake Schur) and his teenage sister (Leila George) go on the run across the American Southwest to escape from their violent uncle. Along the way, Rio encounters the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid (Dane DeHaan) and the legendary lawman Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke). He soon finds himself caught in the crossfire as Billy and Garrett square off in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
I heard about The Kid for a little while, it was an upcoming western directed by Vincent D’Onofrio and stars Dane DeHaan, Ethan Hawke and Chris Pratt. It looked alright but I didn’t have a great desire to see it as soon as possible, I didn’t know when I’d actually see it. Then I found it on a plane so that’s how I watched it. The Kid isn’t great and it’s not nearly as exciting as the trailers made it look, but it’s directed pretty well and most of the performances are solid, bringing the movie up to a level just above average.
I heard that much of the movie is inaccurate to real life, but I’m not familiar with the real life Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, so I’m just going to disregard all real life events for the time being and treat the movie as a fictional story. I should mention that what is shown in the trailer isn’t necessarily what the movie is focussing on (for example, Chris Pratt’s character isn’t a huge part of the movie), so it’s probably best not to watch it if you haven’t already. It’s a slow burn of a movie, which isn’t necessarily bad but it can feel like a drag at points, with some occasionally some bursts of reasonably entertaining moments. At a point I just stopped caring about the story and just watched it play out. As far as Westerns go it’s fine, but it doesn’t do enough to really separate itself from similar movies. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes long but it feels like at least 2 hours long.
This is probably Dane DeHaan’s best performance in a little while, here he plays Billy the Kid and it was great casting. Ethan Hawke is great as usual, here playing real life lawman Pat Garrett. If there’s a reason to see the movie, it’s for both of these actors giving solid performances. Chris Pratt this time plays a villain as the main characters’ uncle, he’s actually really convincing and I’d like to see him in more of these kind of darker roles. However he probably has less than 10 minutes of screentime, so don’t expect much of him. Jake Schur and Leila George are some characters who get caught between Billy the Kid and Ethan Hawke. I think it’s worth pointing out that Jake’s father Jordan is a producer on the movie, which is probably the only reason he was cast in this role. Jake’s character is really the protagonist of the movie, even when DeHaan and Hawke get the spotlight, Schur is in almost every scene, and unfortunately him and his story just wasn’t really interesting to me. On paper I saw what they were going for, but it was just difficult to care about that story. Actingwise, Schur has some okay moments but on the whole just didn’t quite work, especially when placed alongside Hawke and DeHaan. George fares a little better but you see less of her halfway through the movie.
The Kid is the first film I’ve seen from Vincent D’Onofrio, and he clearly knows his way behind a camera. Locations and production designs are appropriate for a western, and the violence and action scenes, while not very present, were handled well. Occasionally there are some parts of the directing that weren’t so great, the thing that stood out to me most is that Chris Pratt has an incredibly fake looking beard even though it is minor, just very distracting.
The Kid is a relatively okay Western but it’s by no means a must see. It moves at a snail’s pace, fails to keep your attention, and occasionally becomes dull. What makes it work is D’Onofrio’s direction of the whole thing, as well as the solid performances from DeHaan, Hawke and Pratt. If you were hyped from the trailer, you might be underwhelmed by the end result of the movie itself, but you still might be able to get something out of it.