Years after witnessing his mother’s brutal murder, withdrawn Sean Donovan develops a dark alter ego and starts dispensing some vigilante justice. But soon a dedicated cop picks up his trail, and Sean’s twisted crusade begins to implode.
8 out of 10
Micheal Morrisey’s small, indie flavored movie is a dark fable that is beautiful, tight and impressive to watch unfold. It is cleverly paced and is a strong story about loss, revenge and regret. It can be summed up as a coming of age film that is bold and brooding. It isn’t about super heroes or their sidekicks. It is about a path to truth that has many jagged curves for a young boy turning into a man at a costly price that engages us and forces us to dwell inside the mind of it’s protagonist.
Caleb Steinmeyer stars as Sean Donovan a teenager from Brooklyn, NY that as a child, witnesses the brutal murder of his Mother. Needless to say he is deeply affected and his soul and psyche become tortured looking for an answer to who the killer of his Mother really is. In this journey Steinmeyer takes us on, he brings us in completely with a deft hand at drama and technique. He broods, cries and shows his brutal and menacing side. As he starts his dark trip towards finding his Mother’s killer he shows us that taking the law into your own hands has a price and Morrissey’s sharp script places us in a real double edged reality. Sean is a bright school kid but feels the need to put black paint on his face and protect the citizens of NYC by night. Lines blur and Sean’s world is upended by a Police Detective and her partner as they investigate the victims of Sean’s alter ego at large.
The beautiful Zulay Henao plays Det. Teresa Ames who places doubt into the open regarding Sean’s seemingly paranoid and unhealthy attention to criminals, old cases and files held at the Police Station. She wonders why he spends so much time there. A retired Captain admits to all the Officers taking him in like an adopted son at the station. They felt sorry for Sean and since the death of his Mother he is a constant at the Station. Ames is wary of it all and with good reason. She can just plain and simply see thru it all. This plot point becomes the best part of the film despite it’s violent anti-hero/vigilante trappings. The film is about Sean and Teresa’s cat and mouse relationship and that is what makes the film gel and Morrissey really shines with the earnest and real dialog that is biting and very slick in places.
What the film is for all intents and purposes is a dark graphic novel come to life. It is the polar opposite of Vaughn’s “Kick Ass” where that film is a fun and self deprecating tale, Boy Wonder is a serious, gritty and self aware gem. The photography by DP Christopher LaVasseur is full of rich tones and well placed framing of the dark streets and subways. It’s frames are comic panels come to life. It is ripe with blues, reds and blacks and compliments Doug Fitch’s incredible editing which is thoughtful, precise and exciting. It is an amazing production to get lost in.
So, I hope you enjoy “Boy Wonder” as much as I did. It is currently streaming on Netflix. It is not your Dad’s superhero movie. Highly recommended!