Drama,  Film Shorts

Yard Kings Film Review | Finding Safety in the Chaos

Yard Kings

Director: Vasco Alexandre

Date Created: 2020-11-12 00:00

Editor's Rating:

Yard Kings is an independent short film about a 9-year-old girl named Ellie, who builds a safe haven for herself in a scrapyard away from her abusive household. Directed by Vasco Alexandre, this film explores the stubborn grit of children in the face of unfortunate circumstances that threaten to leave them powerless. 

You can view the trailer below.

Yard Kings Film Review

There is professionalism in every single aspect of this film from the actors to the cinematography to the sound — it’s hard to believe that it’s a low-budget, student-led, independent film. 

yard kings film review

The actors were all decent and very well-cast. Ellie, played by Elle Atkinson, is so masterful in her microexpressions. She doesn’t have to say anything for you to feel her pain, her disappointment, her anger towards her mother’s boyfriend (I’m assuming) Alfie, and towards her unhappy home. 

Pete, Ellie’s scrapyard buddy, played by David Price, is so charismatic and lovable. His humor and entrepreneurial spirit are magnetic and a good balance to the serious, dark themes that both he and Ellie have to endure. 

The mother, Lisa, played by Caroline Lazarus, looks so tired and defeated and gives such a moving performance at the end. And Alfie, played by Jermaine Ricketts, is successfully a very unlikable villain of the story. 

Altogether, the actors bring the story to life and make the narrative believable enough for viewers to get lost in it as if it were true. 

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The cinematography is crisp and the transitions throughout the film flowed well enough. The setting-establishing shots between scenes helped create a mood and immersion in the story. Each camera choice felt very intentional, emphasizing the emotion on the screen. 

The nature-esque sounds, the whimsical music, and the silence were all expertly arranged throughout the film to evoke emotions congruent with each scene. Nothing felt out of place and it all moved smoothly. 

All the elements of the film worked together as we followed these children building a sanctuary, a safe haven, away from the chaos of home.

yard kings safe haven
screenshot from Yard Kings film

Yard Kings skillfully explores the themes of domestic abuse, abandonment, and escapism. 

It explores young children taking their own lives into their hands and creating a better reality for themselves and the ones they love. The tenacity of the children is moving, and viewing the effect of pure love on someone who’s gotten so used to a tainted version of it is heart-warming. 

There were still so many questions and possibilities to explore that I was very interested in seeing more of. A few plot points that I was hoping to see expanded further including the descent of each family into a place of abuse and violence. Even though I only spent a short time with the characters, I’d become somewhat invested in them, and fond of their feistiness, innocence, and creativity. Because of this, I wish this film was a bit longer. 

In Conclusion…

Yard Kings is an impressive, poignant, and gritty film, so much so that I wish there was more of the narrative to explore. It’s easy to see why this student-led film has won several awards and a lot of positive recognition. Brilliant direction from Vasco Alexandre and a masterful approach to the story from all involved. 

If you have not yet seen Yard Kings, it is soon to become available on several VOD platforms.

Looking forward to the full-length feature…

Rating: 8/10

What are your thoughts on Yard Kings? Let me know in the comments below!

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Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,


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When I'm not over-analyzing movies, I'm eating chocolate, belting my favorite songs, and binge-watching reality dating shows. Feel free to share your opinions with me and follow me through my social links!

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