King of the Hill (film)
|King of the Hill|
|Directed by||Steven Soderbergh|
|Produced by||Albert Berger
|Written by||A. E. Hotchner
Steven Soderbergh (screenplay)
|Music by||Cliff Martinez
Michael Glenn Williams
|Edited by||Steven Soderbergh|
|Distributed by||Gramercy Pictures|
|Running time||109 minutes|
King of the Hill is Steven Soderbergh's third feature film, released in 1993, and the second he directed from his own screenplay following his 1989 Palme d'Or-winning film Sex, Lies, and Videotape. It too was nominated for the Palme d'Or, at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Based on the Depression-era bildungsroman memoir of writer A. E. Hotchner, the film follows the story of a boy struggling to survive on his own in a hotel in St. Louis after his mother is committed to a sanatorium with tuberculosis. His father, a German immigrant and traveling salesman working for the Hamilton Watch Company, is off on long trips from which the boy cannot be certain he will return.
Jesse Bradford, who was 14 at the film's release, plays the protagonist. The supporting cast includes Jeroen Krabbé, Karen Allen, Spalding Gray, Elizabeth McGovern, Katherine Heigl, and Adrien Brody. Lauryn Hill also appears in a small part as an elevator operator, her first screen role.
The music was composed by Cliff Martinez, and includes piano work and cues from classical composer Michael Glenn Williams. Martinez's score is restrained and understated, well suited to the nature of the film. Williams' cue for the graduation scene for solo piano, was notable in that it was the basis for his tone poem for Henry Cowell.
In her review in The New York Times, Janet Maslin says, "The film does a lovely job of juxtaposing the sharp contrasts in Aaron's life, and in marveling at the fact that he survives as buoyantly as he does." In its summary of Soderbergh's films, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "This subtle, affecting, character-driven, coming-of-age story is one of Soderbergh's best and most criminally overlooked films."
The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 96% rating, based on reviews from 28 critics with an average score of 7.9/10.
- Jesse Bradford as Aaron
- Jeroen Krabbé as Mr. Kurlander
- Lisa Eichhorn as Mrs. Kurlander
- Karen Allen as Miss Mathey
- Spalding Gray as Mr. Mungo
- Elizabeth McGovern as Lydia
- Cameron Boyd as Sullivan
- Adrien Brody as Lester
- Joe Chrest as Ben
- John McConnell as Patrolman Burns
- Amber Benson as Ella McShane
- Kristin Griffith as Mrs. McShane
- Chris Samples as Billy Thompson
- Peggy Freisen as Mrs. Thompson
- Katherine Heigl as Christina Sebastian
- Lauryn Hill as Elevator Operator
- "Festival de Cannes: King of the Hill". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- Janet Maslin (August 20, 1993), King of the Hill; A Boy of the 30's With Grit and Wit, The New York Times
- Steven Soderbergh's best-rated films, The San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2012
- King of the Hill at the Internet Movie Database
- King of the Hill at Rotten Tomatoes
- King of the Hill at AllMovie