The Littlest Victim

Subtle it's not, but actor Frank Whaley's Joe the King gets the job done

With Joe the King, Whaley works us over, puts us through the emotional wringer, manipulates us -- right up to the last shot, in which the camera tracks down a corridor and envelops itself in Joe's frightened face. This is a blunt and obvious movie about the terrors of childhood, and that's good. Life itself is blunt and obvious for kids like Joe, and it's best that we know it, lest we fail to pray for their survival.

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