A social-realist drama that deploys a distinct formal style rooted in movement and observation, Pebbles is an impeccably well-crafted film that traverses a story of familial strife and Internalized anger to deliver a curious and confident work ripe for investigations into the tangled relationship between internal notions of choice and the external conditions which define them. Impeccably crafted, Pebbles is a highly visceral experience that one doesn't tend to see from a film with social realist aims. Its narrative is simple, the familial relations somewhat opaque, yet the formal style deployed here is rigorous, as it attempts to construct a mature story of familial violence purveyed through an expansive lens of understanding in which the personal, social, and environmental are intertwined. The tumultuous relationship between a deeply combustible father and his despondent son detailed here isn't rooted in moral judgment but observation, as if to suggest that while this father's actions are heinous and unjustified, they are not singular or unique but a result of the harsh conditions of this environment -Internalized pain externally expressed through rage and violence. Pebbles is astute in how it navigates such complexities, never justifying this man's rage-filled temperament while simultaneously aiming at grander notions of understanding that go well beyond vague notions of agency and personal responsibility
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