Review: The Thinning

My husband and I signed up for YouTube Red for the month of March/April just to test it out. The first movie we wanted to see was The Thinning. It stars Lia Marie Johnson (Everything Before Us), Peyton List, Logan Paul, Calum Worthy, Matthew Glave, just to name a few. The setting is in a world where only the smartest people survive. Everyone has to take a test called the 10-241 from the first grade to the twelfth grade. Passing the test would mean that you live and failing it would mean that you would be executed. In the first grade, they have children watch this video that explains how they get ride of failing students so that the Earth doesn’t get overpopulated. It’s really cruel and it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “test anxiety.”

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It’s an interesting concept and I think this would totally happen in a really messed up society. I mean, look what China did with their female babies. And don’t even get me started with the Germans. The acting could definitely be better. There’s a little awkwardness in the acting. But it’s how all these YouTube originals are like. It’s hard to come by a really talented actor on YouTube. There are those few who are good but many of the really talented ones are already doing films or TV movies. Take, for example, Ki Hong Lee. He stars in The Maze Runner as this Asian kid who doesn’t die in the first scene. I first saw him act in a couple Wong Fu Productions shorts.

There are few things in the movie I could do without, starting with the movie poster advertising the movie on YouTube Red (with a shirtless Logan Paul). I mean, come on. What does that have to do with the plot? Absolutely nothing, you say? Exactly! It makes no sense. There was a scene where you see Logan Paul (shirtless again) working out. Okay? So what’s the point of that scene again? He gets defeated in every fight he starts. Showing that scene does nothing for the actual plot. Also, Lia Marie Johnson plays a troubled student who, right before the important test, decides to blow off studying for it. Who does that? She passed 10 of the tests and she decides not to study for the eighth one? She had two tests left before she didn’t have to worry about them any more.

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Let’s talk about this test. The kids are all instructed to go to this maximum security testing facility. There’s barbed wire and armed guards. The kids walk in single file and their bags are checked before they can enter. The rooms they take the test in look like lecture halls. So if the test is suppose to weed out the smartest kid, why aren’t they sitting further away from each other? Also, since when do standardized testing dictate how smart kids are? It doesn’t mean anything anymore. According to this article by Allie Bidwell, America over tests their students and have nothing to show for it.

Overall the movie wasn’t too bad. It was entertaining for the most part. It has a twist ending which I enjoyed. So if you have $10 to spare each month, subscribe to watch this movie. We might just cancel our subscription because there’s really nothing else to watch on there besides Wong Fu Productions. Stay tuned for my review on their first series, Single by 30.

Audience: PG-13
Imaginative Factor: 7
Acting: 6
Story: 7
Direction: 7
Would I recommend: Yes

*Note: Based on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being the worst and 10 being the best you could get in a category.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. cgtorrent says:

    This is a very fair review of a movie that is often misunderstood unlike a lot of rants on the Internet (along the lines it’s the worst movie ever with no redeeming features) and I completely agree that the acting could be much better at times probably with the exception of the governor.

    “It’s an interesting concept and I think this would totally happen in a really messed up society. I mean, look what China did with their female babies. And don’t even get me started with the Germans.”
    To be fair they are hardly the only countries who did this. Too many countries at some point in their history have had a purge of the weak one way or the other and the killing of female babies still happen in lots of developed countries today.

    “Also, Lia Marie Johnson plays a troubled student who, right before the important test, decides to blow off studying for it. Who does that? She passed 10 of the tests and she decides not to study for the eighth one? She had two tests left before she didn’t have to worry about them any more.”
    I think the answer to that question can be found in her test score. Ellie scored 88% which by any definition is an above average score at the very least and honestly her chance of getting thinned is probably only a bit higher than Laina’s. She only got thinned because of insider manipulation like Laina. Therefore I feel she doesn’t really need to spend that one night before the exam to study again considering that she had the whole year to do it.

    “So if the test is suppose to weed out the smartest kid, why aren’t they sitting further away from each other?”
    Yes that puzzled me at first as well and I definitely there’s room for improvement here. However to be fair they were pretty much sitting in the same position in lots of university class tests that I know of and it’s not exactly easy for them to copy off one and another because the tablet only ever displays one question at a time and the student’s answer would only show up when they selected an answer first so it’s pretty unlikely if a student doesn’t know what’s the answer to a question they can find the answer by looking over their neighbours in the first few attempts.

    “Also, since when do standardized testing dictate how smart kids are? It doesn’t mean anything anymore. According to this article by Allie Bidwell, America over tests their students and have nothing to show for it.”
    That’s exactly the point of the movie. I think part of the director’s message is the danger of overemphasizing standardised tests to the point of determining survival. It’s never meant to be a good thing. Also I believe compared with lots of Asian countries for example, American students don’t really take that many standardized tests.

    Like

  2. cgtorrent says:

    There’s something else I just thought realised about the ending: it is already foreshadowed in a way when the governor declared the budget was balanced? How do you think he got the money from? I am more convinced now that he knew exactly the fates of those thinned students but of course we have to wait for the sequel to confirm it.

    Like

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