Riddle of Fire

12A

We’ve often made comments on these very pages of how terrifyingly good many of the young screen actors are these days, with the kind of performances that suggests they have absorbed the Stanislavsky theory at an embryonic stage.

This film then, serves as a stone-cold reminder that not all young actors are necessarily born with the gift, nor their adult counterparts come to think of it.

boom reviews Riddle of Fire
So you thought the Force was cool huh...

Out in the rural expanses of Wyoming are brothers Hazel (Charlie Stover) and Jodie (Skyler Peters), with their friend Alice (Phoebe Ferro), who together form the Three Immortal Reptiles.

They have just secured the latest gaming console, through nefarious means, and are about to bed down for a proper gaming session, as kids do.

But wait, there’s a problem: their mom has put a password protection on the TV, and they can’t break the code. They go to her bedroom, where she’s suffering with a cold, and beg her for the code. She agrees a certain time they can play for if they go to the local bakery, and pick her up a blueberry pie. They agree, and set off on their motor bikes.

Turns out they’re all out of pie, and the baker is off today. Not letting that get in the way of their gaming, so they decide to go to the baker’s house and see if she will make them a pie.

But it doesn’t turn out that way, and their day continues with the kind of quest that would tire even Link out.

boom reviews Riddle of Fire
I'm not sure we thought this through - how do we get down?!

There’s no doubt that Weston Razooli’s directorial debut, that he also wrote, has a certain undeniable charm, but the acting is cringing. It may be deliberate, but none of the cast, either young or adult, appear to have even walked within ten miles of an acting class, nevermind attend one.

It’s clearly an allegory for children having adventures away from screens, and life can be just as exciting as a video game, which is all very admirable, but kind of ironic if your audience is constantly monitoring their own screens, as the tedium on screen continues.

It’s the kind of idea that would have worked perfectly well as a short, but a full feature at nearly two hours in length is just absurd.

There’s a hint of Stand By Me within the fantasy milieu, as they have an adventure in the woods, but the quality of acting is substantially night and day.

It doesn’t help that the plot is also all too vague, giving no reason as to the fantasy element, or indeed even making the most of it.

And although all the children involved have no concept of acting whatsoever, their endeavours are still endearing, in much the same way as watching your own child fail miserably in the school play, but still supporting their effort and energy.

A charming concept then that quickly wears thin very soon after it starts, making for the kind of riddle that makes no kind of sense at all.

we give this two out of five