King of California


A modern day treasure hunt with a protagonist who’s just escaped the loony-bin, his teenage daughter who’s grown up for the both of them, and a dream that’s driven by the most primal of pursuits – treasure!

Written & directed by Mike Cahill, ‘King of California’ is a feel-good coming-of-age movie that the Sundance Film Festival has become so accustomed to churning out…

Charlie (Michael Douglas) is a musician who’s spent his life suffering from a bi-polar disorder, dwindling between various professions and vocations. When he’s released from a psychiatric ward, he returns to the care of his minor daughter who’s taken on the role of the guardian. Working at a McDonalds and paying the bills, Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood)  is the voice of reason – the sanity patrol to Charlie’s eccentric impulses.

In a quirky ritual that begins with Charlie’s quest for a hidden treasure from 1624, and the ensuing courtship that helps the father-daughter reconnect, this story is a modern adventure through the concrete jungles and the sewer rivers that California has to offer.

With a plot involving breaking into a Cost-co, digging six-feet under, and a particularly humorous part where Charlie has to explain the perilous lure of ‘Swingers’ to his naive daughter, ‘King of California’ is a funny film that operates on the most basic of human levels.

Expertly acted by Michael Douglas, whose portrayal of eccentric treasure-hunter is more than noteworthy, his charismatic screen-presence raises this feel-good movie to a height that’s acheived only by truly great performances. And Evan Rachel Wood has yet to disappoint as far as her acting chops go…  a tremendously talented young actress on the cusp of being the next big thing.

Aside from an overuse of VOICE-OVER that marred the movie’s flow, this is a very well-directed and tightly written film. With its curiously quaint use of dissolves (using it as a storytelling tool), the style of this movie is refreshing and unique.

Suggested similar movies: Little Miss Sunshine.

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