Sunday, September 18, 2011

Boy Wonder

Boy Wonder is the story of a high school senior dealing with the emotional and psychological scars of watching his mother being murdered in front of his eyes during an assumed car jacking gone wrong, on his 10th birthday.  Unlike the most famous boy wonder, Sean Donovan (for true film geeks, this was also the name of Mike Donovan's son, the leader of the resistance in the original V) does not have a wealthy guardian providing him the best education and super hero crime fighter training money can buy.  Instead, he has spent the past 8 years since his mother's murder with his formally abusive father, spending every day after school since his mothers death looking at mug shots at the local NYPD to see if his mother's murder was picked, reading everything he can find, and doing his own very intense work out routine at a local dive gym.

As we watch the layers of Sean's search for justice unravel, we see him engage in targeted vigilante justice against men who abuse women and children while getting away with murder, dangerous steroid use in conjunction with his street fighter training at the gym,  and severe hallucinations fueled by his escalating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  But the worse is yet to come.  Upon learning his father's former nickname, Sean's grip on reality begins to crumble, and his ultimate plan to get justice for his mother is executed, leaving in its wake a police cover up and the murder of two men, one of whom may have been innocent.

At the end of the day, Sean Donovan is a combination of several stock characters, crafted into a new and unique flavor.  Like Batman, Sean patrols the streets to help the helpless, but his inexperience and instability causes him to leave clues as to his true identity.  However, unlike Death Wish's Paul Kersey, who metes out his vigilante justice in person upon those who have killed his loved ones, Sean uses a more indirect approach in his final revenge against his mother's murder.  This careful planning and execution that leads to Sean achieving his goals while remaining free of legal ramifications, give him a shade of Hannibal Lecter.

As with any film featured at Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival (MIFFF), Boy Wonder is a film that offers a complex story that leaves you questioning what is right and wrong.  Whether you believe justice has been achieved by the ends justifying the means, or that and eye for an eye is never the way, Boy Wonder does not offer any easy answer and forces each individual to decide for themselves, and this is why it is worthy of a Filmfreak Mafia recommendation to see.

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