Today: February 22, 2024
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Electrick Children

By – Christa Ktorides- In deepest Utah, 15-year-old Mormon Rachel (Julia Garner) believes she’s become impregnated by a cover of ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ that she listened to on a forbidden cassette.

– By – Christa Ktorides

In
deepest Utah, 15-year-old Mormon Rachel (Julia Garner) believes she’s become
impregnated by a cover of ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ that she listened to on a
forbidden cassette.
Yes, really. She then
embarks on a voyage of self-discovery in search of the father of this
immaculate conception.

Electrick
Children
, written and directed by Rebecca Thomas, herself brought up in the Mormon faith, begins
quietly in the achingly quirky manner of American Indie flicks, all soft focus
and whispered speech. Things perk up considerably once Rachel decides to flee
her home and head to the gaudy streets of Las Vegas in an effort to find
whoever is behind the song.

With Rachel’s fundamentalist parents (a
restrained and slightly sinister Billy
Zane
and Lost’s Cynthia Watros)
believing her brother Mr Will (Liam
Aiken
) to be the father of the child and banishing him, a slightly obvious
plot device – the old sleeping in back of the pick up truck and waking up the
road – leads to Mr Will joining his sister on her quest, all the while waiting
for her to admit she has a lover so that he can return home.

The Las Vegas-set scenes are where the laughs
come in this odd little confection of a film. Once Rachel meets skater-waster
Clyde (an endearingly vacant Rory Culkin)
the story kicks into gear and we watch with bewildered eyes as Mr Will and the
innocent, naïve Rachel infiltrate Clyde’s gang of rubbish muso friends. There
is more to Clyde than at first meets the eye and his devotion and acceptance of
Rachel and her frankly insane tale is the driving force behind the second half
of the film.

It’s an unbelievable tale, littered with huge
lapses in logic and yet the performances, particularly the luminous Garner and
Culkin’s sweet stoner and Thomas’ assured writing and direction keep us onside
so that the central conceit actually starts to make sense.

Electrick Children is a tale of faith that
can’t quite uphold its grand plan as convenient plot points contrive to deliver
more depth to the story. But with
sweet leads and some delicately funny moments it is certainly worth a look and
may ease itself to cult status.

A pleasant surprise.

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