Yard Kings is a 2020 short drama film directed by Vasco Alexandre, written by Vasco Alexandre, and produced by Bricks and Water. It stars Elle Atkinson and David Price.
"Go to bed, sweetheart." - Lisa
9-year-old Ellie lives in an abusive household which she escapes by building her own city with her friend Pete in a scrapyard.
Yard Kings runs at about sixteen minutes, and it's able to pack a lot into a very short runtime.
This film is able to setup its story and characters simultaneously, which is actually really impressive. This is due to the direction from Vasco Alexandre, who is able to communicate so much with simplicity. There will be moments in this story with no dialogue that progress the story forward because of how well Alexandre is able to communicate with a camera.
For being this short, Yard Kings is also incredibly, incredibly emotional. Like the rest of this movie, the final shot says so much without actually saying anything. It sets up a very difficult situation with this abusive household and navigates the audience member through that to give you an emotionally satisfying ending that makes you feel really, really good.
There are four main actors in this film, and they all do a really great job. The standout here was Caroline Lazarus as Lisa, the mother / wife in the film. She gives a powerhouse of a performance with such few scenes. The last shot of the film is her character doing something that I don't want to spoil because you should watch this movie, but she nails it. If there was a Best Supporting Actress award for short films, she would absolutely win.
The only negative thing I have to say about Yard Kings is parts of the dialogue. It's always very difficult to write dialogue when the main characters of your film are kids, because adults write the dialogue, and adults don't speak like kids. The only movie that I've seen that's ever succeeded at making kids talk like kids is The Florida Project. While Yard Kings doesn't have bad dialogue for the kids, you can tell it was written by an adult. That is truly a minor complaint in what is a great little short film.
Final Thoughts and Score
Yard Kings is a powerful short story that is able to pack great character work and tons of emotions into a quick, sixteen-minute runtime. Keep an eye out for this movie on VOD. You should absolutely check it out.
I will go Sweet here. Age range is 9+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
Fun Factor: 7.5/10
Directed by Vasco Alexandre
Released on November 12, 2020
Elle Atkinson as Ellie
David Price as Pete
Caroline Lazarus as Lisa
Jermaine Ricketts as Alfie