The Kid Detective is available to rent or buy now.
One of the sad facts about the lockdown and our closed and shuttered cinemas is that many great movies have slipped under the radar. As premieres move to digital platforms, where audiences are bombarded with content and options, many films in 2020 and 2021 have suffered from a lack of attention. The Kid Detective is one of those movies, with its sheer brilliance quashed by a decidedly quiet arrival online. But this taut and witty murder mystery deserves your attention in the crowded online marketplace as it twists and turns before taking us somewhere genuinely unexpected.
Abe Applebaum (Adam Brody) spends his days looking at his life through the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Applebaum’s small detective agency was built on his brief fame and notoriety in his youth. He was known as the ‘Kid Detective’, a pre-teen who solved low-level mysteries, ranging from stolen charity money to missing pets. Back then, the whole town found his twelve-year-old crime-solving techniques both cute and humorous, but the local fame and adulation soon vanished as Abe grew into a man. Now he spends his adult life dealing with cases of cheating boyfriends and missing dogs as he desperately attempts to find fame once more. However, when a high-school student arrives in his shabby office asking for help, Abe spots an opportunity to find his voice again while finally solving a mystery that has haunted him since childhood.
READ MORE: KNIVES OUT
The Disneyesque title of writer-director Evan Morgan’s superb movie is bound to leave viewers off guard as they enter Abe’s world. The film’s first half focuses on the man-child antics of Brody’s Abe and his role as a play-acting detective based on a failed childhood dream. Here the film’s superbly timed humour plays with audience expectations as the story unfolds. However, the sharp left turn of the final act grabs our attention as the movie’s comedy evaporates into something far darker. Here, Morgan delivers a curveball that not only surprises but enthrals, as Abe’s past and present combine in the expert hands of Brody.
READ MORE: SEE HOW THEY RUN
Abe’s existential despair flows through his crime-solving escapades, his place and purpose defined by a childhood of local celebrity status. As the film draws to its conclusion, it is here where we find ourselves left with unanswered questions. The final scene takes us inside the mind of a man held in the vacuum between adolescence and adulthood as he navigates the man he wants to be. Here the title of the movie doesn’t do justice to the depth of the issues covered, which may be why many will skip it on streaming platforms.
The Kid Detective is a rare gem in murder mystery comedy with a beautiful crime noir-inspired score. Here its intelligently crafted screenplay is not only fresh but highly engaging in a narrative that never allows for simple labels as its shifts between humour, noir, drama and dark comedy. For some viewers, its final act may prove disconcerting considering its initial comedic tone, but The Kid Detective is nothing short of a fascinating, innovative, and delightful streaming gem.