Boy Wonder is a directorial debut for Michael Morrissey, previously a producer on several reality tv series that never appear to have gotten much beyond a pilot or a handful of episodes, with his only success here being 10 Grand in Your Hand (2009 ). Morrisseys tone throughout the film is one of realism and subdued nuance. He manages to get some fine performances from his cast especially good being Zulay Henao who plays with an inner strength that shows much promise and lugubrious big lug Daniel Stewart Sherman who is introduced as a cop with some decidedly racist and patronising attitudes but manages to become a likeable average joe throughout the rest of the show. Morrissey creates some nicely nuanced mise en scene in the scenes where Daniel Stewart Sherman shows Zuley Henao around the station or where she sits down with Caleb Steinmeyer and starts to dig into his past wherein he draws the drama out of the actors playing off one another in credible and naturalistic ways.
Boy Wonder is a well made film, although one that never gives you many clear ideas where it is going. It leaves you to piece things together such as why we see Caleb Steinmeyer tackling drug dealers one moment and in the next scene is sitting quietly going through the computer at the police station (even if things are eventually explained) or why he is doing what he does. This is the type of storytelling that tries audiences patience and may well explain why Boy Wonder never had a theatrical release outside of film festivals. When it becomes apparent that Boy Wonder is a vigilante film, you also realise that it never travels in the same place that other vigilante films like Death Wish (1974) and Harry Brown (2009) do getting an audience all worked up and red blooded about social injustice and the systems indifference but seems concentrated more on social realism and the disturbed psychology of its protagonist. That said, in waiting the distance, Boy Wonder is eventually rewarding and arrives at a very nice sting in the end of the tale.
This has been the only film that Michael Morrissey has made to date and all his other work has been as a producer of various reality tv shows.
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