#97: Band of Robbers

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As a true lit lover myself, I’m all for filmic adaptions of my favorite stories. So, when I learned of this whimsical and strange adaption of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn – two books that introduced my young self to a world of adventure and wonder – I was all in.

Written by and directed by Adam and Aaron Nee, Band of Robbers features Kyle Gallner as Huck, Adam Nee as Tom, along with Matthew Gray Gubler (aka Dr. Reid for those Criminal Minds fans out there), Hannibal Buress, and Melissa Benoist.

In this film, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn bring the gang together for an adventure in search for buried treasure while the dangerous Injun Joe is after the same prize. The boys are the same: steeped in adventure, mischief, and a desire to somehow escape from the bleak life around them, but now the stakes are higher, the danger ever more real. Check out the trailer here:

The title cards that break up the various chapters of the film maintain the literary integrity of the original source. The characters are lovely and fleshed out in such an organic and true progression from the children of Twain’s stories. The music is pointed, perfect, and adds a touch of whimsy, drama, and bravado when called for. It’s a marvelously childlike and odd adventure that plays out in such a dull, generic town, further marked by odd, fun dialogue and a plot with some pleasant surprises. The slavery and race issue of the original text is re-imagined now to deal with the issue of immigration, something that at times feels like a good tie between the original stories and our current state, but at other times feels off and a bit out of place.

Overall, it shows us that the wide ambitions and imaginations of Huck and Tom don’t really fit in the world they exist in – our world, but even as the ever narcissistic, imaginative Tom understands this, he admits that all he wants is to bring some magic into his life. And in our current societal state of often dark and uncertain subjects, this film does just that: bring a bit of magic into our lives. You can stream Band of Robbers now on Netflix.

Featured image via The Hollywood Reporter.

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