For about 20 seconds, Hellion seems like it might be a quiet, introspective portrait of two young boys in Southeast Texas — lyricism in the vein of David Gordon Green’s George Washington or Terrence Malick’s, well, everything. Malick’s longtime producer Sarah Green and modern auteur Jeff Nichols even produced it.
Then the motorcycle engines start revving and the atonal dawn sounds turn to screaming guitars. Hellion is something else. Hellion is heavy metal lyrical.
In Kat Candler’s film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will also be featured at SXSW, Aaron Paul plays Hollis, a grief-stricken widower and mostly absentee father to two young boys. The eldest, Jacob (the beguiling Josh Wiggins) is a troublemaker and the younger seems to be on the same path. Nothing is easy for this family, and things just continue to go downhill for them when the state steps in.
EW has an exclusive clip of Hellion’s explosive opening. Not even Jesse Pinkman was this angry.
For more information on Hellion’s SXSW screenings, check out the schedule here.