A New York family implodes over three days as they careen through mid-life and quarter-life crises.
Pam: Gene Pope stars as Frank and also co-wrote the screenplay, a man going through a mid-life crisis as he copes with the one-year anniversary and guilt of the passing of his son. Fed up with his younger generation colleagues at his ad agency who sabotage his work, we see that his frustrations cut deeply into his family relationships as well. Sadie (Emily Bennett) and Kaitlin (Roxi Pope), two polar opposite siblings with equally different relationships with their father, have their own issues to work through, but at the core of the story is regret and an attempt to move forward and impart wisdom upon those who are younger and not so wise.
“King of Knives” is an ambitious endeavor, perhaps attempting to bite off more than it can chew. With so many secondary stories taking place–marital issues, expectations, suicide, homophobia, agism, affairs–it’s difficult to fully flesh out each one which is disappointing as this could have been a great series, much more so than a film. However, Mel Harris shines in her role as Kathy, the wife and mother. There’s a relatability to her grievances and difficulties amidst the comfortable station in life she and her hubby have attained. Roxi Pope is a saving grace with her more authentic performance, style, and humor. She’s snarky and real and while it’s a unique relationship she portrays as Frank’s daughter, it works. Where the film loses its grip is with the contrived and predictable situations and the inconsistently over-the-top performances of the remainder of the cast.
This low-budget effort features an intriguing and relatable premise for viewers of a certain age yet it ultimately fails to flesh out any of the many issues it tries to tackle. To be sure, the cast does their best to salvage this exercise and should be commended for their enthusiasm and commitment. The script by Lindsay Pope and Gene Pope has its fair share of good ideas, just a few too many of them. There’s a good movie in here somewhere – it just required another rewrite or three to flesh out.