14A, violence, coarse language.
Dir: Evan Morgan, Canada, 2020, 99 min. Adam Brody, Sophie Nélisse, Sarah Sutherland
“You won’t find Encyclopedia Brown here, as The Kid Detective has much darker ambitions in store. Splendidly summoning film noir-esque vibes, classically ghastly bad guys and femme fatale types out of a whimsical small town full of grotesque mysteries, this bold and often surprisingly humorous film – think of it as a more mainstream version of Rian Johnson’s Brick – grapples with themes related to murder and abuse, as well as the existential dread of its central recluse, who fell grossly short of the promising life he thought he was meant to have in his younger days… As we learn during the film’s relatively lighthearted first act Abe used to be the star of his sleepy village as a pre-teen private eye… But his winning streak came to a halt when a young girl from his school went missing – obsessed with the grown-up case he understandably couldn’t solve with his juvenile resources, Abe slowly fell from grace while stubbornly holding onto his PI credentials… Abe has now fallen behind in life and lost the patience of his community… But a second chance thankfully comes knocking when teenage Caroline brings him a bona fide case, hiring him to find the murderer of her boyfriend. The two team up, going down an intimidating rabbit hole of shady schemes that involves drugs, jealous nerds, cynical townsfolk and a chain of unforeseen twists, the culmination of which will make any devotee of physical movie theaters feel nostalgic about the collective audience gasps… But what’s most moving is the sibling-like bond between Caroline and Abe, written and portrayed with astonishing sensitivity…. You will relish the time you’ve spent in this vintage world of secrets and lies, both entertainingly old-fashioned and defiantly fresh.” – Tomris Laffly, Variety