Tuesday, February 10, 2015

King of the Hill (1993)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writers:  A.E. Hotchner (Memoir), Steven Soderbergh
Cast:       Jesse Bradford, Jeroen Krabbe, Lisa Eichhorn, Adrien Brody

A young boy struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him in 1930s Depression-era Midwest.

Film is set in 1933 Missouri and everyone is struggling as the effects of Great Depression is still very much there. He gets separated from his family and other people he is close with in the motel one by one basically because of poverty. Abject poverty and hunger is not something that we see commonly in films from the developed world and the way the boy deals with it is quite buoyantly. He is quite charismatic playing the main protagonist and quite curiously for a Soderbergh film, the film very much has a Coen vibe to it. The whole sweaty atmosphere reminded me of 'Barton Fink', which also was set during the same time and came out couple of years prior to this. The performances are excellent, particularly from the younger cast members. I didn't realize it was a 20 year old Adrien Brody playing the role of his best friend and mentor, Lester, even though he looked very familiar. Music was done by Soderbergh's frequent collaborator Cliff Martinez, who also has done some terrific work with Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive & Only God Forgives).

Overall it is a great watch and it was Soderbergh's third film after Sex, Lies & Videotape and Kafka, both of which I rate as among his very best. I think he is quite underrated as a director basically because most people remember him for his commercial films like Oceans franchise and 'Out of Sight'. He did have a quite underwhelming body of work beginning from 2001 which lasted till around 2009 after which he was back in from leading up to his so called retirement from feature film making. 

Rating: 4/5