Jenn Rohm Reviews "Hot Summer Nights"
In his debut as writer and director Elijah Bynum brings us “Hot Summer Nights,” a coming-of-age tale with a bit of a “Goodfellas” vibe. Taking place in 1991, after a suicide hits to close to home, Daniel (Timothee Chalamet) is shipped off to his aunt’s for the summer by his mother. Since he isn’t a local nor is one of the rich, party-it-up summer crowd, he finds his place through Hunter (Alex Roe), the cool guy everyone wants to be yet no one acknowledges in the company of others (as well as the local drug dealer as well as McKayla (Maika Monroe), Hunter’ sister and the girl every girl wants to be, and every boy wants. After helping Hunter with the local police, Daniel goes into business with him while being instructed that McKayla is off limit, which gets complicated as Daniel tries to expand his influence and his feeling for McKayla grow.
I am a bit mixed on my opinion here, as it has moments that showed promise of things to come from Bynum, but also shows how new he is to the business in places. There were some moments where the script dragged, and even with strong acting trying to avoid that feeling and a few cliché moments, it didn’t really help like a scene in a dinner with driver Dex (Emory Cohen), Hunter, and Daniel. This scene simply felt just like how any other drug/mob higher up the chain threaten lower down the chain should play out. Fortunately, this is balanced out with moments of brilliance shown in a drugstore involving a red lollipop.
I don’t know if I would go to Redbox for “Hot Summer Nights,” but if it is on Netflix or another streaming service, I would pick it to watch.