Review: "The Kings of the World"
This tragic tale of orphaned teens scraping by in Colombia features five standout performances. The Kings of the World has won top festival awards and its country's nomination to the Oscars.
Filmed in a natural realist style, with the camera following the gang of boys closely, the film also has elements of symbolism. The boys repeatedly encounter a white horse, for example, that seems to represent freedom.
In one scene, the camera lingers on a makeshift version of the Colombian national motto -- "Liberty and Order." It's a cruel juxtaposition against the lives of these boys, which lacks any liberty or order at all.
In fact, the violence the boys face wherever they go feels both random and completely baked into the landscape of Colombia. When they're abducted by a group of men in a rural area, the local priest passes them on the road with nothing more than a salutation.
Everywhere the boys go, older adults care for them but also warn them to be careful. They say they want to go somewhere where nobody "beats us up" or "humiliates us."
They understand that's the life they were "given," but they still strive for something different, together. They have each other, until they don't. The film's sad ending couldn't have been any other way. Kings could potentially inspire empathy for those fleeing the violence of these contexts.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.
Images courtesy of Netflix.