Talk about speechless…
Paper Kids is a dialogue-free portrait of troubled kids, just before their disappearances.
This twenty minute and some-seconds short drama shows the final days before a group of kids are last seen. Each kid has their own story shown through the eye of a lens with no dialogue.
Oliver is a depressed young man who last messaged his girlfriend telling her that he could end it all. Ashley is a young woman that works as a prostitute. R.J. is a kid with cirrhosis, who was never enrolled in school and was out walking the streets. Kaylia is an alienated teen who runs away from home. Bre may be going through a mental illness of some kind. And then there’s Riley and Braeden who are brother and sister with an abusive mother.
“…a dialogue-free portrait of troubled kids, just before their disappearances.”
A lot of this short is filled with close-ups accompanied by shots of different sceneries and music – it works and it doesn’t. While watching this, I had no idea what was happening during the first half of the short. While some of the stories of the kids are obvious to understand, with some of the kids I could not figure out their stories until the last minutes of the film where it is mentioned what the fates of the kids are. Some of the stories could have been more clear.
Two of the girls’ stories included nudity and near nude scenes. This can seem uncomfortable considering that these characters are supposed to be portraying kids. I’m thinking that the director was trying to go for a real feel with these scenes and was not intentionally trying to make the scenes awkward.
I’m not sure if these are based on true stories or not but you have to believe that somewhere in the world these kinds of stories, unfortunately, do exist. It’s a very hard topic to discuss but Shane Ryan goes for it with Paper Kids and does it without any words, there’s a lot of risk in doing so. Paper Kids doesn’t entirely miss the mark. If a film can get the discussions going about mental health and domestic abuse then it has done its job – whether it is good or bad.
Paper Kids (2016) Directed and written by Shane Ryan. Starring Bre Kapner, Braeden Morgan, Oliver Morrison, Kaylia Skye, Ashley Smith, Tommie Vegas, Amber Yargus, Riley Yargus.
5 out of 10