Monday, April 15, 2019

Nathan's Kingdom

Director Olicer Munoz brought considerable inspiration, pedigree and experience to Nathan's Kingdom, a sci-fi coming of age drama about two siblings who chase a dazzling fantasy while fleeing social service workers. A graduate of Chapman University Film School with an M.F.A. in directing from the American Film Institute (AFI), Munoz incorporates Latino and social justice influences into his craft.

In the story, an autistic brother and opiate-addicted sister risk everything, including their lives, in pursuit of a fantastical vision they come to share, battling monsters both internal and external along the way. As their physical world merges with their fantasies, all things external become a means by which they conquer their demons—a shared experience through which their relationship grows.

The direction in this film is very strong and so is the acting. Nathan's Kingdom draws you in, not so much through enchantment and special effects, but through a magical realist's sense of how something quite out of this world can be grounded in reality. Lead actor Jacob Lince is on the autism spectrum, an unusual twist for such a significant production. Dallas native Madison Ford, who plays his sister Laura Freeman (Young Laura is played by Sarah Assumma), balances Lince's performance with a full range of emotions. Both actors bring depth and insight to their roles.

The excellence of this wonderfully progressive film is another feather in the cap for emerging director Olicer Munoz. This production also bodes well for the future of autism spectrum actors. You can watch the trailer here: Nathan's Kingdom Trailer