By Richard Haridy
September 25, 2012
Hick is a classic coming of age road movie where a young innocent girl is schooled in the dark and depraved ways of the world. Or, at least that's what I assume Hick is about. Derek Martini's second feature - after the competent Lymelife - is a confused mess of awkward tonal shifts and boring narrative tangents all encased in the discomforting shell of a Lolita fantasy.
Chloë Grace Moretz is Luli, a 13-year-old girl who is abandoned by her drunken redneck parents after being given a gun for her birthday. Alone, she decides to hit the road and head to Vegas, but not before posing in front of a mirror in frilly underwear doing her best Travis Bickle impersonation. Here begins an object lesson in bad cinema as Luli struggles through a series of episodic confrontations with thoroughly nasty human beings. All the men she meets are sexually threatening and all the women are damaged criminals as Luli is passively bounced around at the whim of various characters before ultimately learning absolutely nothing and ending her journey exactly where she started.
Numerous supporting characters enter and exit the story seemingly at random with Eddie (played by a tediously miscast Eddie Redmayne) taking the most central role in Luli's journey and schizophrenically alternating between menacing, charming, sympathetic, and horrifically menacing at the drop of a dime. Alec Baldwin, Blake Lively, Rory Culkin and Juliette Lewis all appear as disparate characters who often feel like they drifted off the set of a completely different movie.
Martini's ultimate crime with Hick is his lack of clarity. With no consistent context, the sexualisation of Moretz's character often leaves the viewer in an uncomfortable position of borderline lechery. Hick is a sadly worthless misfire that is narratively lazy (can you guess what happens with that gun introduced in the opening scene?), borderline offensive (a potential rape sequence near the end is disgustingly brushed over) and ultimately pointless. Hick should be avoided by all and sundry unless you are interested in studying a film that fails on every measurable level.
Hick arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia September 26, 2012.