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The Independent Critic

Dirk Julian, Michael Resendez, Torey Marks, Erin Prieto, Chad Post
Christopher L. Golon
NR (Equiv. to "R")
71 Mins.

 "Knock em' Dead, Kid" Review 
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Bret (Dirk Julian) is fresh out of high school and determined to enjoy his last summer at home before, he hopes, attending film school. However, his life begins to take a different turn after he's involved with some friends, Willard (Michael Resendez) and Jim (Chad Post) in the beating of a man they believe to have raped a friend.

Before he knows it, the law is at his door and he finds himself entangled in a relationship with a younger girl (Erin Prieto) despite already being in a relationship with Veronica (Torey Marks).

In a film that writer/director Christopher L. Golon acknowledges is patterned after experiences in his own life,  the phrase "slice of life" seems the easiest way to describe everything that goes on. Essentially, everything revolves around these two storylines and the individuals involved in them.

Perhaps recognizing that he was working with a limited budget, Golon wisely avoids any gimmicks or distractions in "Knock em' Dead, Kid" and sticks to the story in what feels almost like a documentary along the same lines as Larry Clark's "Kids." While Golon's script does take its share of twists and turns, they largely feel like natural story developments rather than the all too familiar hyped up Hollywood style storylines.

As is true for most low-budget indies, the acting in "Knock em' Dead, Kid" is a bit hit-and-miss with Dirk Julian, as the mildly misguided youth with potential, Erin Prieto's younger seductress and Chad Post's dreadlocked stoner leaving the most favorable impressions among the ensemble cast.

Shane Greavette's camera work is generally solid, especially as the film progresses. Given the film's modest budget, Golon does nice things with a riot scene and has quite a few beautiful shots of Los Angeles throughout the film. Michael Hollinger's original score gives the film a stark, urban accompaniment and "Knock em' Dead, Kid" features a gritty soundtrack featuring tunes from Art Flesh Gordon, Bek Phillips and Side Project.

While there's little denying that "Knock em' Dead, Kid" never quite escapes the look and feel of a low budget indie, it's a promising film from an up-and-coming director with a a strong, authentic script and several rewarding performances. "Knock em' Dead, Kid" has already captured an award at the Twin Rivers Media Festival and shows great potential for the independent and underground film festival circuit before ending up on home video.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic