Kids with Guns is a tragic study of a trio of reckless hellraisers. Finn (Finneas Scott) brings his younger brother Theo (Theo Scott) out to play with the alpha male Tommy (Tommy Varnado), and the crew run through a series of questionable activities, from burning Theo as initiation into the group to climbing to the top of abandoned buildings to throwing branches onto a busy highway. The real kicker comes, however, when Tommy’s stepfather leaves his gun unattended at home.
As you can imagine, the time with the gun is probably not going to end positively. That said, the film doesn’t deliver some preachy “keep guns away from kids” message so much as it shows kids gone wild being kids gone wild, and introduces a particularly dangerous element into it. While I never was burned to be initiated into a group of friends, I can’t say I didn’t do stupid s**t when I was running around with my friends. I had friends that I’m glad never had access to firearms.
Overall, it’s the film’s ability to capture that devil-may-care attitude and energy that makes it work. There is a chaos to how these children behave, but for the most part it is an innocent chaos. By the end of the film, innocence will be lost, but the experience seems natural. Which is the real tragedy of the piece; this sort of tale shouldn’t feel this familiar and unsurprising.
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