7th Day at SF IndieFest 2013: Funeral Kings

funeral-featurefour-stars4The McManus Brothers first, and hopefully not their last, full-length feature resembles that of an equally impressive updated version of Rob Reiner‘s 1986 coming-of-age classic, Stand By Me.  However, there are enough differences, both tonally and plotting to make this weak-in-the-life story of four High School freshmen stand apart from Reiner’s.

Tonally, the movie has an authentic swagger and coolness to it that fits comfortably into each awkward scenario that the movie’s young protagonists find themselves in.  This is in large part thanks to the invigorating soundtrack.  Those of you who are familiar with the works of rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli will more than likely be pleased with the soundtrack, as it is reminiscent of a lot of these two rap icons musicography, as well as other music akin to theirs.  If you are unfamiliar with this particular style of East Coast underground rap, all you have to know is that the music, along with the few sparse usages of appropriately timed slow motion shots, reflects perfectly the attitudes of these young kids as they try to adjust to teen living, and all the “coolness” that comes with it.

As for the story; the plot of these kids ditching school, committing petty thefts, and discovering the contents of a chest full of all the things kids fortunate enough to get their hands on would hide from their parents i.e., booze, explosives, nudie mags, chewing tobacco, and a gun, though secondary as it was, is just as enthralling as the overwhelming sense of nostalgia that was at play while watching these antics.  My own personal memories of when I too gathered with friends to out bad-ass each other and buy smokes off of older classmen, in my case, beer, were rapidly awakening within me with the passing of every frame.

No doubt, this movie does a fantastic job of capturing that important transitional time in childhood from being a boy to being a teenager, but more importantly, it struck a chord with my 14-year-old self that I tend to forget about the older I grow.  And for a movie that may not be original in terms of its cinematic prowess, its ability to serve as an exceptional example of what it’s like to walk out of a theatre knowing I’ve just come as close as I may ever come to transcending space and time without a literal time machine is quite an achievement.


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