Directed by: Derick Martini
Given that I made mention of ‘Taxi Driver’ in my last review I’d like to draw more comparisons from the seventies Scorsese classic with another movie, Derick Martini’s ‘Hick’. Jodie Foster’s performance as Iris, an American Lolita, was praised by critics, but denounced by detractors, concerned about how a thirteen year old actress would be affected by playing an underage prostitute in a city rife with violence.
‘Hick’, adapted from Andrea Portes novel, tells the story of a thirteen year old girl called Luli, a Southern fried Iris, who hits the road to escape her drunken Father and absent minded Mother. Chloë Grace Moretz, no stranger to controversial roles, such as Hit Girl in ‘Kick-Ass’, savvily plays a girl who believes she is wiser beyond her years, however unsurprisingly she isn’t prepared for the crooked people she bumps into who are all out to take advantage of her.
Initially she thumbs down a vehicle driven by Eddie (Eddie Redmanyne), a cowboy who walks with a limp. There is something immediately off about Eddie, and when the pair argue, a frightened Luli gets out of the car. She is next picked up by Glenda, who almost appears to be a living representation of Luli’s future self, a young woman who made numerous mistakes in her formative years. Glenda and Luli form a minor league Thelma and Louise duo and scam their way cross country.
Luli reaches a crossroads midway through the film when she bumps into Eddie again, after Luli and Glenda stop by at Lloyd’s place and Eddie is serving drinks behind the bar. Lloyd is a cocaine fuelled low level criminal with delusions of grandeur, in the heat Eddie is able to separate Luli from Glenda and things take a much darker turn. Luli witness’s porcelain stamped murder, and is raped and held hostage by Eddie. Martini tries to direct this horrific ordeal with care, as Eddie follows Luli into a cornfield, the camera fades.
Then in the closing stages Alex Baldwin makes a cameo as a motel owner and former marine who realizes something is amiss between Eddie and Luli. The bulk of the supporting cast in the film which includes Juliette Lewis as Luli’s irresponsible Mother and Rory Culkin flitter in and out of the scenes, not really making an impression but Baldwin certainly does; Baldwin’s arrival late on is surprising, in the sense that when he arrived on screen I just exclaimed “Bloody hell, it’s Alec Baldwin”. He overplays his role in an indomitable fashion. I suppose it fits in with the surrealness of the final moments as Luli endures an overdose of tragedy. Baldwin’s larger than life scene stealing somehow fits in with Luli’s heightened sense of anxiety.
The film is an uncomfortable watch. Moretz gives another consistent performances, as does Blake Lively but the stand out performance is provided Eddie Redmayne who is simply evil. It saddens me that there is no light, no innocence left for Luli and she ends the film likely severely traumatized. We are left with the impression that Luli is ultimately doomed.
Hick on IMDB