Joe the King
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San Francisco Chronicle
This is a smart film, told in a minor key, that augurs well for Whaley's directing career.
Whaley's self-effacing but strongly etched and wrenchingly effective film.
The atmosphere of the movie is dense and unrelieved; it's a heavy role for such a little boy, and some people won't want to watch such a bleak, monster world.
New York Daily News
The movie isn't a day in the park, but it manages to close on an existentially uplifting note.
One of my favorite U.S. fiction features at 1999's Sundance Festival.
Deftly realist character study.
F. X. Feeney
Whaley successfully balances his scenes on a knife-edge of tenderness and anger that was Truffaut's trademark.
A powerful little gem: a little bit of "The Outsiders" (the film's tone is remarkably similar to Coppola's film, minus the airy redemption and golden sunrises), a lot of "The 400 Blows," and a slice of "Radio Flyer" all wrapped up in a dirty black bow.
The film belongs to Fleiss, and he makes Joe's inner life so transparent that it's heartbreaking to watch the boy dig himself into a hole.
Too much self-pity.
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