Boy Kills World


Reviewed by: Donald Munro

Boy Kills World
"The film goes at it with all the manic intensity of an old Saturday morning kids TV show: Wacaday cruentus."

Some stories need lampooning. The lone hero or chosen one carves their way through an army of faceless disposable grunts, fights the final boss or touches the MacGuffin and send the whole corrupt totalitarian state, kingdom, empire or corporation crashing to the ground and frees the sheeples. That's the story Boy Kills World has in its ultraviolent sights.

Bill Skarsgård plays an unnamed boy. Deaf, mute, orphaned, he prepares to take revenge on the Van Der Koys and their brutal regime. The clichés are going to pile up like the bodies. After years of ruthless training in the ways of death by a mysterious and sexually creepy shaman (Yayan Ruhian), he is ready to be the autocrats' nemesis. It is the day of the culling, an event where Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen) picks out her enemies for public execution. The boy, accompanied by hallucinations of his murdered little sister, Mina (Quinn Copeland), and narrating with the hypermasculine inner voice (H Jon Benjamin) from their favourite arcade game, Super Dragon Punch Force 3, plunges into the fray.

Copy picture

Boy Kills World is kicking in all directions. It lands blows on post Tarantino faux nostalgia and retro 8-bit computer games, political spin and light entertainment, the tired clichés of the action movie, the training montage and torture scene, the dead woman driving the plot and the American obsession with might-is-right narratives. The film goes at it with all the manic intensity of an old Saturday morning kids TV show: Wacaday cruentus.

The greater part of the film is rather enjoyable. A troupe of consummate actors ham it up in a very entertaining style. Some of the stunt work and action sequences are inventive in the way they undercut the stereotypes of the genre. The jokes and cultural commentaries are quite funny and there is a lot of visual humour in character interaction. The latter part of the film starts to fall flat as the incessant pace becomes boring and the jokes start to wear thin. Due to its nature the plot twists in Boy Kills World are both inevitable and predictable. It can't just ditch these narrative tropes.

Boy Kills World looks at the action movie from within the genre. Behind the stunts, special effects and humour there is some interesting commentary.

After the credits there is one final joke about nostalgia and the folly of revisiting childhood memories. Sometimes it just ruins them.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2024
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A dystopian fever dream action film that follows Boy, a deaf mute with a vibrant imagination. When his family is murdered, he is trained by a mysterious shaman to repress his childish imagination and become an instrument of death.

Director: Moritz Mohr

Writer: Arend Remmers, Tyler Burton Smith

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Rothe, Michelle Dockery, Brett Gelman, Isaiah Mustafa

Year: 2023

Runtime: 115 minutes

Country: Germany, South Africa, US


Toronto 2023

Streaming on: Amazon

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