Review: Kevin McMullin’s ‘Low Tide’ is a successful teen noir.

LOW TIDE

In the long days of summer in a beach town on the New Jersey shore, high schooler Alan (Keean Johnson) and his friends Red (Alex Neustaedter) and Smitty (Daniel Zolghadri) break into vacation homes to steal valuables, funding dates at the boardwalk and lunches at the burger stand. When Alan and his younger brother Peter (Jaeden Martell) find a bag of gold coins, they try to hide them from the others — but Red, suspicious and violently unpredictable, seems willing to do anything to get the money.

This teen thriller is so well written and acted that the foreboding behinds immediately and never lets up. Nothing good can come of white boy rage and resentment. But a whole lot of great can come from a brilliant young cast of this caliber. Jaeden Martell is captivating as younger boy scout brother Alan. There is something truly special about this young man’s ability to fill a frame with a powerful silence. Older, sort of ne’er do well brother played by Keean Johnson is a dynamic foil for Martell. Fueled by equal parts passion and pride, he inadvertently puts both boys’ lives in jeopardy. The other two young men that keep these brothers deeply mired in danger are complete opposites of one another. Daniel Zolghadri gives a phenomenal performance as Smitty, playing somewhere between a mob rat and a boy who is terrified to feel rejected. The fourth and certainly most brutal of the bunch is Red. Alex Neustaedter utilizes a physical and emotional volatility that is truly unsettling. You will keep one eye on him at all times because you know nothing good can come of his angry townie attitude. These four boys try to avoid getting caught robbing summer tourists but deceit leads the group down a deadly path. Writer-Director Kevin McMullin has crafted a real thriller. The cinematography is beautiful. Existing in a time driven by greed and favoring the elite, Low Tide proves that human nature reveals its flaws just as easily among children as it does adults. This film undoubtedly brings unsettling intrigue and true noir.

Written and Directed by: Kevin McMullin
Produced by: Brendan McHugh, Kevin Rowe, Richard Peete, Rian Cahill, and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones 
Starring: Keean Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Alex Neustaedter, Daniel Zolghadri, Kristine Froseth, Shea Whigham

Distributed by A24 and DIRECTV
Run Time: 86 Minutes
Rated R for language, some violence and teen drug use

 

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.