“Finestkind” emerges as a cinematic gem reminiscent of 1970s cinema, embodying the salt of the Earth with its gritty narrative. The film intricately weaves themes of family, loyalty, and indelible memories, creating a narrative that feels grounded and authentic. Set against a backdrop that complements its gritty story, the ensemble cast of weathered actors, including Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Foster, and Toby Wallace, enhances the film’s tone and atmosphere.
Maintaining a sense of grounded reality is crucial, especially given the unpredictable twists in Brian Helgeland’s script. The performances of the lead actors resist sensationalization, grounding the movie and contributing to its authenticity. The result is a straightforward and genuine family crime thriller that effectively operates within the parameters set by Helgeland.
While “Finestkind” is not without its third-act flaws, critics who highlight clichés fail to acknowledge that the film intentionally subverts conventional crime thriller tropes. The narrative follows two half-brothers, Tom and Charlie, raised in disparate circumstances but bound by a strong brotherly bond. Their loyalty to each other drives the drama, defying the typical betrayal dynamics seen in the genre.
Tommy Lee Jones’s character, Eldridge, warmly accepts and welcomes Charlie, showcasing the film’s focus on family issues. The script makes a brave choice by steering away from the expected “dethronement” effect and instead emphasizing the brothers’ support for each other. This departure from the norm adds depth to the narrative and challenges traditional thriller conventions.
“Finestkind” reaches its cinematic zenith when exploring the intricate family dynamics between the brothers and their parents. Helgeland’s script, drawing inspiration from “East of Eden,” carefully delineates the distinct personalities of the brothers, played expertly by Foster and Wallace. The film navigates family differences with acceptance, choosing a path less traveled in the thriller genre.
Despite third-act hiccups and a resolution that may appear too neat, “Finestkind” remains worth watching. The performances, particularly Foster’s portrayal of the “Big Brother Protector” and Jones’s compelling presence, elevate the film. Helgeland’s bold choices in storytelling, embracing family differences with acceptance, distinguish “Finestkind” from the typical thriller fare. The film offers a refreshing perspective on familial bonds, making it a brave and entertaining cinematic experience.