Film Review: Young Ones


Young Ones Plot Summary:

Young Ones tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic world in which water is hard to come by. A father, Ernest Holm, (Michael Shannon) and his two children Jerome and Mary (Elle Fanning and Kodi Smit-Mcphee) must learn to survive in a world where corruption, vengeance, and survival is a daily task they all must face and conquer.

While maturity may grasp the literal “young ones” in director Jake Paltrow’s latest work the film, has a bit of growing up to do.

While the apocalypse has been done before, the concept of a waterless world is interesting. However, it’s just not enough to save this film. Bad writing, some horrendous acting, and edit/sound mixing that makes most music videos look like Oscar winners — the film was DOA from the start.

When it comes to the story itself, Young Ones has a pretty good idea. An interesting concept with realistic characters and story lines. However, something just didn’t click with the writers that day, or apparently however much time it took them to write this surprisingly awful film.

Photo Credit: Screen Media
Photo Credit: Screen Media

The writers took an interest and plausibly realistic idea and made it wacky and sometimes just plain boring. They create plot holes instead of plot lines — portraying characters as good one second and bad the next. You’re never sure exactly what you’re watching. To be fair this could be in part to the film’s ridiculous editing as scenes literally jump from one thing to the next and there’s too many random shots thrown into the film sloppily. At points you’re not sure which character’s story you’re watching.

Along with the editing, the sound mixing drowns this film in a world where drowning just doesn’t seem possible. The music was inappropriately hilarious undermining scenes where the drama is at its highest. In some scenes, if you closed your eyes, it sounds as if you’re watching an an Italian film from ’40s where two fat guys would be slurping on some spaghetti, not a film about an apocalyptic future.

Photo Credit: Screen Media
Photo Credit: Screen Media

Another major fault with this film is, surprisingly, the acting. On paper the movie seems to promise amazing performances — Smit-Mcphee was great in Let Me In, Nicholas Hoult is an up-and-coming star with some serious acting chops, and Michael Shannon is Michael Shannon.

Shannon’s portrayal of a tough working, no bullshit, family man was excellent, with amazing line delivery and spot on facial expressions. Hoult is excellent playing at playing a mini-villain. Yet, both just couldn’t save the film. Two actors cannot carry an entire film by themselves, especially if they are acting with a supporting cast that fails to deliver. Simply put, Smit-Mcphee and Fanning are terrible.

Fanning was an extreme disappointment, the biggest one by far in this film. Fanning was stupendous in Super 8, but I have no clue where that talent went in this film. Her performance is over-dramatic and you could see how hard it was for her to cry on command and give a realistic performance. It is sad to watch someone so full of potential not show any in a role she could very well have perfected.

All in all the film, although having great potential, fell flat on all expectations. The writing was dry, the sound mixing and editing were horrendous, and the acting was just disappointing to say the least. While the only saving graces of the film were Shannon and Hoult, those two little droplets of water couldn’t hydrate this film enough to save it.

Young Ones may seem mature at first glance, but they and it still have a lot of growing up to do.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Young Ones is currently in theater and available on demand.

Laura Dengrove is the one of youngest members of the Pop-Break staff and is a critic for television/movies of all types on Pop-Break. She’s in her first year at college where she will be studying to obtain her bachelors degree at Rutgers University for Journalism/Public Relations. She was the editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of her school newspaper, runs her own blog (Pop Culture Darling), and interns for Design New Jersey. She also has an in-depth knowledge about all things True Blood and an avid Eric and Sookie shipper.

Hello! My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.