Young Ones

In a future where water is scarce, a farmer defends his land and hopes to rejuvenate his parched soil. However, his daughter's boyfriend schemes to steal the land for himself.


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  • ★★★★ review by Raventomb on Letterboxd

    A coming of age neo-western focusing on the Holm family as they struggle to subsist in a drought-ridden dystopian wasteland. As with most visions of dystopia, life is grim for the poorer folks and Young Ones apes the themes explored in John Steinbeck’s dust bowl novels (specifically, Grapes of Wrath) to enhance the unforgiving nature of this environment and the unjust treatment of its inhabitants by the banks and the government.

    Each act focuses on one character and through this we get to learn a bit more about their own motivations, but the overarching narrative is also progressed rather neatly in each one. The first focuses on Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) and this one bears the burden of all of the expository information that tells us everything we need to know about the Holm family and the future setting. Shannon is, as usual, on compelling form and he fits into the role of troubled single dad from the future well. Much like Guy Pearce’s recent turn in The Rover, Shannon is well suited to this type of dystopia and he looks suitably weathered by the environment his character exists in. The last two acts focus on devious entrepreneur Flem (Nicholas Hoult), Ernest’s step son of sorts and the final act centres on Ernest’s youngest Jerome (Kody Smit-Mcphee). Hoult and Mcphee are impressive here. Specifically, Mcphee seems to have a knack for gritty post apocalyptic movies, His character undergoes the biggest transformation throughout the film and he handles this characterisation skilfully.

    Special mention goes to the ‘simulant’, a robot mule that the Holm's use to transport supplies across the desert. The one used in the film is a full size working model based on the 'Big Dog'. which was designed and built by Boston Dynamics. I’m unsure how much of its movement was down to visual effects and other chicanery within the film itself, but either way it’s effective and its interaction with the actors and the environment is seamless. You can check out the early robot here, or just watch the film as, if you like dystopian films with gritty storylines you will like this a lot.

    Viewed as part of Dystopian December.

  • ★★★★★ review by FilmApe on Letterboxd

    Can it be called a cult film if you are the only person in the cult?

  • ★★★★ review by Waldo on Letterboxd

    Not totally original Sci fi apocalyptic western but totally original in its execution and that's what matters to me. Water is the precious thing everyone is after here. Like in Stryker. Anyone remembers that gem from the 80's? Anyone, anyone? Anyways, always great to see Michael Shannon on a lead role and Gwyneth 's brother is a good director. Nice desert locations, good looking film.

  • ★★★½ review by Aaron King on Letterboxd

    A film that reminds me a lot of Rover for some reason. I liked the feel and look of the film but it felt so much like a novel that it kind of turned me off it a bit. I did enjoy the acting and the film itself but I had the hardest time warming up to it.

  • ★★★★ review by Aaron T. Rex on Letterboxd

    Loved the world and I loved the way the world was shot. It looks great and there are plenty of interesting shots throughout the film. Everything with Michael Shannon was fantastic but I wasn't really a fan of Elle Fanning. I don't usually like Hoult or McPhee, so that was a tough battle for the film to win, but I did eventually start to appreciate their performances and characters. I like the slight tweaking of Hoult and where they went with him.

    The music was great and all in all it just seems really unique with plenty of visuals that I had never seen before. The scenes with the mother were amazing, for one thing. And the guns sound great, which is always a win.

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