Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
After Take the Ten, I had a real fear that as Netflix tries to beef up the amount of original content it had, it would focus solely on quantity over quality. However, to my surprise, despite a corny title, and Maisie Williams, arguably, not having the best filmography, they have put their stamp on something which has quality.
Trigger Warning(s): Movie Contains Gun Shots, Rape Imagery, and scene showing a Black Boy Hanged
Lucy (Maisie Williams) | Tom (Bill Milner) | Ellman (Rory Kinnear)
Characters & Storyline
Off in Crowley Estates, you’ll find Tom. He is a normal everyday guy with a crush on his friend since childhood Lucy. They are cool, but perhaps not super close. However, with some major exams coming, and her wanting some help in science, he is given a chance for some alone time, the chance to impress her. However, with a local gang busting in her flat, beating up her brother and raping her, his chance is snatched away. Though his life almost gets snatched away as well since the rapists were still there and upon chasing him, they decide it’d be best to eliminate him than believe their mask would protect their identities.
Lo and behold, they don’t kill him but give him super powers. Similar to what Micah on Heroes has. For now, he can hack into anything which is electronic and he decides to use that for what begins as vengeance for Lucy but becomes a hero complex. One which, so it seems, he isn’t as prepared to handle the fallout and consequences for as he thought.
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
I can swear that some of the music in this show sounds like the Humans theme song music.
That’s the difference between us and them. They have a modicum of talent, they shout it from the rooftops. Us? We have talent, we get told to shut up. ‘Don’t show off. Don’t be such a clever bastard.’ You’re special […]. Don’t ever, ever pretend that you’re not.
Though familiar with her work outside of Game of Thrones, none of those films really made it seem she could break through and be more than Arya Stark. This film, on the other hand, she pretty much carried. She was able to bring the strength, cheekiness, and bullheadedness of Arya yet went beyond just that. She was able to show a form of vulnerability which was not in previous roles. She, for a lack of a better way of putting it, wasn’t someone who lost the battle but was prepped to win the war. No, she was down and out. She was able to make it seem her character could and would commit suicide after being raped and with and without Milner, we saw her stumble and try to rebuild herself. Not making for an emotional performance, mind you, but one in which it shows that Williams is learning production by production and seemingly can carry a theatrical film one day.
Tom, by any means, is not some type of Casanova. Hell, his main attractive attribute is perhaps the fact he is a nice guy and is decent at academics. That and he has a potentially good future. So to see what truly seems like a normal guy and a normal girl have conversations, hang out, and sort of naturally fall for one another was cute. Their relationship isn’t anything which may set a precedent or be #RelationshipGoals, but it’s natural enough to not seem forced and developed enough to understand what these two end up willing to do for one another.
On The Fence
Tom Is Completely Normal
It’s a strange thing when the hero of our film is overshadowed by not only the villain but also the love interest. Yet, Milner, and the writing, allows for this. For while they try to build up the idea of him being a bit broken because his dad isn’t around and his mom died when he was 2, due to drugs, unfortunately, those tidbits are the only interesting thing about him. Outside of that, Tom is the type of normal Hollywood avoids. He is just some skinny lad and not one who works out in his spare time. He’s the dude you’d forget about if they walked up on you 5 years after you graduate and that leaves mixed feelings for me.
I like it because you do have to grow tired of heroes always being traditionally handsome and charismatic, yet having a hero who lacks that almost makes you want to question why Milner was cast. Yet, when you begin to appreciate his chemistry with Williams, things begin to become clear. For you start to realize Tom was never meant to be a traditional superhero but just a guy trying to avenge the girl he likes. Much less, he is trying to make up for not being a hero when it truly counted.
Guilt by association is a big thing with this movie. For even if the person didn’t harm Lucy, they were there. Even if they didn’t give the order, they put pressure on someone to give such an order, and what begins as just getting Lucy’s rapist evolves into trying to take down a criminal organization. Of which, the villains range from everyday teenagers to full grown adults. Something which, I’ll admit, at first presented a real bland group of individuals. Yet, as noted by many a review I’ve seen, the writing of Lucy helps build things up.
Her noting how she grew up with her assaulters, her kidnappers, it brings deeper meaning to their betrayal. She was friends with them and yet they raped her. Then when it comes to the older men, they threaten her, assault her, use her as a puppet, and while the big boss, Ellman, apologizes for what his boys did, there is no shame. Like when Lucy confronts the boys she grew up with, his apology is as weak as when a child is told to say he is sorry in school. Really pushing the idea that because of Williams, and how Lucy is written, she is the one who honestly made this film much better than what it could have been. For she makes these villains more than some local hoodlums. She makes them into people she used to be friends with, trusted, and now her brother is left with bruises and she is left with mental scars because of them.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
I must admit I’m very torn about noting this as positive, if only because the “On The Fence” topics themselves are also on that border between criticism and being something I’m iffy about. Yet, noting this isn’t the type of movie you have to venture out and pay for, and with taking down Netflix from their former pedestal, on top of noting this film isn’t trying to really compete with the likes of Marvel or DC, I think it is quality entertainment. Not something I’d necessarily watch again but like how Kick-Ass 2 and Let Me In, and to a point, Carrie, showed that Chloe Grace Moretz was capable of just being a vulgar girl who could kick ass, I think iBoy will be one of Maisie William’s first movies to prove the same.