Derick Martini directs the film adaption of Andrea Portes’ dark and gritty debut novel, Hick, the story of a young girl who tries to make sense of her chaotic life by leaving home but gets more than she bargained for when she finds that the world outside her door is no better.
Nebraskan thirteen year old Luli McMullen (Chloë Moretz) escapes from her alcoholic and self-destructive parents in the hopes of starting a new life in Las Vegas. Leaving home with her thumb in the air and a provocative tough girl mentality, she is met by the dodgy Eddie Kreezer (Eddie Redmayne), who soon throws her back onto the curb. It is not long before she hitches another ride, this time with world-weary Glenda who takes the troubled teenager under her wing. They hit the road but Luli finds herself being drawn into the dangerous life that the amiable yet unreliable Glenda leads. Problems are furthered when Eddie comes back into the picture, this time with a plan that puts Luli into a sordid situation that rapidly spirals into violence and changes her life forever.
Chloë Moretz gives a weak and overblown performance that is only emphasised by her inability to show the emotional range that she has proven to possess since in Hugo and Carrie. The gratuitously salacious lens that she – only fourteen at the time of filming – is seen through comes across as exploitative and makes the viewing experience uncomfortable, distracting from the plot of the film.
As the unruly Glenda, Blake Lively of television’s Gossip Girl gives a solid performance and demonstrates her capability of playing more serious and dramatic roles. Redmayne’s performance is strong, yet the script prevents him from working to his full potential. Nevertheless, the exchanges between him and Moretz are honest and add an exciting and unexpected charm to the film.
The exaggerated stereotypes littered throughout the ninety minute flick increase its unrealistic appearance but it is the soundtrack and, surprisingly, the messy editing that bring a consistent sense of tension and suspense to it, giving the film its much needed point of interest to keep viewers engaged.
Although viewers will gain very little from this film, it acts as a reminder of how cruel the world can be and how careful one must be when deciding who to trust. The film is neither dull nor uneventful but it is far from the success it could potentially have been if it were to have been written and directed with more depth and emotion.