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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 09.07.10] movie review news thriller drama crime

Year: 2010
Director: Michael Morrissey
Writer: Michael Morrissey
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 8 out of 10

Revenge films are a dime a dozen. Some are good, some are great but few have the raw energy of Michael Morrissey’s fantastic directorial debut Boy Wonder. Part of the appeal of Morrissey’s film is the story itself which pits a 19 year old as a vigilante who has been working on honing his hunting skills from an early age. The other is the performance from relative new comer Caleb Steinmeyer as Sean, the young man at the centre of Morrissey’s tale.

At the tender age of 9, Sean saw his mother brutally killed in a car jacking gone wrong and every day since, he has spent hours at the police station, looking through mug shots in search of the man who killed her. Over the years, Sean has manicured the perfect exterior: a quiet teen, straight As and staying out of trouble but in his spare time, when he’s not at the station, he’s at the gym, building muscle and the power to take down nearly any opponent. When ready, he begins the hunt and his targets? Mean individuals, men who have killed once and gotten away with it only to wreak havoc on more lives. Along the way, he’s concocting another plan, one that will take down the man responsible for his mother’s death.

Morrissey’s film is a solid mystery, using a well developed script and excellent editing as building blocks to the final reveal. There are hints and parts of the story which come to light throughout, purposefully built with care and determination. There are few writers who have the knowledge and understanding of the story they’re telling and the world they’re building that they can control the divulging of information so carefully but Morrissey manages to control both the script and the filmmaking at this expert level, leading to a conclusion that is both satisfying and unexpected.

Although it wears the trappings of a revenge tale, like the best films of the genre Boy Wonder is a personal story of one young man coming to terms with his life. Yes, Sean wants revenge but he’s not looking to do this for life, he simply wants to do whatever necessary to move on. Though he feels in control of both of his personas, it’s clear from early on that Sean’s carefully divided worlds are coming ever closer to each other and when they eventually collide, the result isn’t the expected mess. Indeed, it does get a little ugly but Morrissey keeps his story original by avoiding the cliché’s that often come with the genre and in the end, things sort of work out for Sean.

Carrying the film is the aforementioned Caleb Steinmeyer who turns in a great performance as Sean. It’s difficult to be both appealing and scary but Steinmeyer is nuanced and reserved, a difficult task considering the material and the opportunity to showboat some of these scenes. The one major fault of the production is Zulay Henao as Teresa Ames, a new officer at the precinct who threatens to interfere with Sean’s carefully laid plans. Henao is flat and uninteresting in nearly every scene though she’s particularly difficult to watch when pitted against Steinmeyer who makes her look like an amateur. Thankfully the rest of the film more than makes up for her bland performance.

Expertly edited from a great script and featuring an outstanding lead performance, Boy Wonder is an excellent revenge film, one that plays in the emotional sandbox more than it does in the action but that performs well in both. I can’t wait to see what Morrissey has up his sleeve for a follow-up.

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warsaw (12 years ago) Reply

I agree...Steinmeyer is awesome for this part and makes Zulay seem like she is a beginner! The story is hot and leaves you wondering in the end...GREAT writing.


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

SO true! Steinmeyer is fantastic.. I felt bad for Zulay- She was clearly out shined by this kid. He's got a long successful career ahead of him. I just hope to see him on the big screen again soon.

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