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Hello Herman (Movie) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

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Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
3/ 5


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We liked?


Takes viewers inside the mind of a school shooter, a difficult topic.

Not so much?


Leaves so many questions unanswered.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Hello Herman is a stirring film about a terrible school shooting, the troubled young man who carried it out, and the also troubled journalist who was chosen to receive the exclusive of lifetime. While there are some really good moments in the movie, and it has great potential, viewers are left wanting by all the unanswered questions in the film. It is entertaining, dramatic, and very pertinent to the times – as long as you don’t think too much about what it could have been.

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Posted June 27, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

It is a tale too often repeated in these troubled times. A young man – just a kid, really – with seemingly his whole, bright future ahead of him, walks into school one morning and massacres his classmates. There is talk that he had been bullied, of course – there always is – and a rather troubled home life as well, with an absent father, a tragically killed sister, and a workaholic mother. But lots of people face these same challenges on a daily basis, none of them resorting to murder. So what could possibly make someone truly believe that killing is the answer?

That is the thought that goes through everyone’s mind, whenever a tragedy such as this occurs. News pundits spend hours on camera decrying everything from oblivious parents to a broken school system to evil itself, but no one really has the answer. To get inside the heads of one of the kids who has done it – planned and carried out such a horrendous attack – would be a career changing coup for any journalist. When troubled online journalist Lax Morales gets and email and video from the killer himself, asking to tell his story on Lax’s show, it’s an offer he cannot refuse. But in getting to know Herman, Lax will be unable to avoid facing the demons from his own past.

When I began watching Hello Herman, with its climactic beginning scenes and obvious hints of deeper meanings, I was quite excited for the film it could be. Unfortunately, there were many times throughout the viewing that I was left disappointed. There are many questions left unanswered, the focus oftentimes unclear – and even the message fails to get across. Why did Herman do what he did? Has Lax finally resolved his guilt from the past? Who is really to blame? In film, as in life, apparently we are to be left wondering.

There are many things I liked about Hello Herman. Lax Morales is an entirely convincing portrait of an unconventional online personality, even if the glimpses of his past often serve more to confuse than to enlighten. And Herman Howards is perfectly portrayed as an unstable blend of psychopathic killer and confused child. They are both compelling characters that compel you to love and pity as much as you also want to despise them.

And yet, this is a story that could have been done better – much better – and so I find myself disappointed. So many questions are brought up by the film, and so many of them are left unanswered. And some things, most notably the implied feud between Lax and a mainstream reporter, and the somewhat sensationalized link between Herman’s skill at shooting real guns being related to playing video games, seem to have little reason for even being included. They needed to be expanded upon to have value in the film, and they were not.

Hello Herman is a stirring film about a terrible school shooting, the troubled young man who carried it out, and the also troubled journalist who was chosen to receive the exclusive of  lifetime.  While there are some really good moments in the movie, and it has great potential, viewers are left wanting by all the unanswered questions in the film. It is entertaining, dramatic, and very pertinent to the times – as long as you don’t think too much about what it could have been.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)