The Archer (2017) [REVIEW] [SXSW ’17]

Believe it or not, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been a “young adult.” In fact, some would argue I’ve  yet to hit the “adult” part of that term, but, regardless, films that are intended for young adults don’t typically do much for me. I don’t mean PG-13 movies, since that doesn’t inherently make a film directed at a younger audience, but since I’m out of touch with what teens face these days, or what I faced when I was a teen, I don’t often connect with teen themes. Now that I’ve got all that young adult jargon out of the way, The Archer is a young adult First Blood. Those words might not all make sense in that sentence, but bear with me.

Lauren (Bailey Noble) is a badass archer in her high school, possibly the baddest of all the asses. Life’s not easy for a badass archer, as her close friend is dating a real putz, who Lauren witnesses trying to sexually assault her friends. When Lauren intervenes with a trusty arrow, the crime escalates to the judicial system, and with her friend too scared to admit what really happened, Lauren gets sent to a military school. While there, Lauren is subject to harassment from the supervising officers of both the verbal and physical variety, which this archer doesn’t like! When an opportunity presents itself, she makes a break for it with another “inmate,” but the facility is located in the desert, so the pair must struggle to get back to civilization. During their escape, some of the head honchos at the facility realize this archer could take down the whole organization and reveal details about the harassment that goes on, so the hunt begins! The girls must battle the elements, each other, and their hunters in the hopes of clearing their names.

The strengths of The Archer lay in its refusal to talk down to its audience. The themes of being courageous and standing up for what’s right, even though it’s easier to lay down and deal with the injustice, is a theme that both teens and adults have struggled to deal with throughout their lives. However, by focusing on a younger generation, audiences in their formative years will hopefully take away important lessons about how, even if you do the right thing, not everyone will see it as the right thing, but it’s important to follow your heart. The characters on both sides of justice feel authentic, with the villains never being cartoonish and the heroes having their own flaws. The archer is both entertaining as genre fare, telling a thrilling story of survival, and can hopefully teach teens a thing or two about the difficulties of doing what’s right.

Wolfman Moon Scale

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