FILM REVIEW – In Lost Kings Brian Lawes Lawes documents the commonality of food insecurity

Lost Kings, directed by Brian Lawes, remarkably depicts the journey of a young boys quest for the survival of him and his brother in Suburban life. The picturesque town is not as pleasant for the young boy as his food supply is scarce. Forced into an adult role early in life, and faced with the decision to succumb to hunger or save his soul, the film’s protagonist struggle to endure impairs his moral standing.

Known for films Lost Kings (2020), Rock Paper Scissors (2018), and Temp (2017); American director, writer, and producer Brian Lawes has secured membership at various high profile film festivals across the globe and earned several jury awards. Paired with Amanda Hyden, producer of multi-million dollar projects for well-known companies Discovery, Pepsi, Google, Footlocker and Gatorade. Lost Kings reflected the actualities of life in suburbia into film come to fruition by Hyden in a timely and budget-friendly manner. 

Lawes documents the commonality of food insecurity, where large houses and freshly trimmed lawns aren’t grounds to deny faults within a community. Wealthier neighbourhoods at times neglect to acknowledge their shortcomings, and as a result, the central character has limited options for food other than theft. As the young boy biked past luxurious houses, a feeling of loneliness resonated through the screen, he appeared separate from his community incapable of finding solace. Suburban life often compared to perfection is a facade, and Lawes portrayal of poverty reinforces the notion that those who witness hardships can view their seemingly affluent environment in its entirety unbiased by privilege.

The boy’s trepidation, his amateur skills in thievery, coupled with his apprehension when traversing in his mark’s house, reminds spectators of the boy’s innocence. Lawe’s flawlessly captures the mental exhaustion the child holds only briefly released by the simple hymn of a piano key. The moment reflected the emotion most long for pure harmony absent from the worries associated with daily life.

The moment of peace abruptly concluded and replaced with panic, where the youth grew trapped from the consequences of his actions. By introducing fear and uneasiness into the household, he became the entity defining his life. The child’s desperation for obtaining groceries outweighed his need to flee from entrapment, caught by his peer and the lasts of his innocence slowly dwindling. The two shared a look of understanding and mercy, silently translating a flash of humanity between the children. Despite disparities, everyone wordlessly suffers from personal strifes, similar to the children, we can recognize it in others, and perhaps grant an empathetic gesture to those in need. 

Bound to poor choices in a complicated situation, the shame and regret bred from his actions shined in the boy’s exterior. Although physically free, the guilt that ravages the boy will infinitely embed in his mind. The film acts as a medium for those who cannot grasp the severity of food scarcity by mimicking the grief held by individuals in a similar position—encouraging viewers to look past their facade and contribute to progress within their neighbourhoods.

A beautifully shot film, with mesmerising performances and excellent direction. Lawes is a young director that is likely to go far!

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