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YouTube, the long-time bastion for web content, allowing people like PewDiePie to rise from nowhere to great heights only to shoot himself in the foot. YouTube also allowed Bieber to become, well, Bieber. Before YouTube, Bieber was just another polite Canadian kid. YouTube’s been around for a long time, and as the pioneer in video web content, it’s never ignored evolving for the better. YouTube is always trying to make itself an even better home for videos of all kinds, and now, with YouTube Red, the streaming service is dipping its toes into making movies and TV shows like The Thinning.

The Thinning Stars: Logan Paul and Peyton List

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Released in October of 2016, The Thinning is a dystopian science fiction story which leans toward the Hunger Games or Divergent crowd. To break it down as quickly as possible, the future sucks, there are too many people, and measures are put in place to deal with the problem. The result of this is a meritocracy where a yearly test determines the fate of students. The rules are simple, fail the test, you die. Pass, and you get another year to the next test all the way until you graduate. They don’t say it in the movie, but I imagine after graduating you’re are to indulge in as many drugs and alcohol as possible to erase the memory of watching friends and classmates die year after year

The Thinning is competently directed by Michael Gallagher. I don’t imagine that the budget was huge, but the movie makes the best of it. The thrust of the story, like any of these films, is the corruption of the system being uncovered. In The Thinning, Blake Redding (Logan Paul), the son of the Governor of Texas suspects the test is rigged and fails on purpose. Daddy pulls some strings to have another girl executed in Blake’s place.

The Thinning is not groundbreaking in any way, but it’s not trying to be.
It’s trying to be a solid dystopian story, and it mostly succeeds.

Aside from the basic info of a UN Charter requiring nations to reduce populations, there isn’t a lot of world-building in The Thinning. The film stayed small and focused on just what’s going on in Texas. On the one hand, world-building isn’t necessary if the immediate narrative is compelling. On the contrary, can engaging story even happen when you don’t understand the world surrounding the characters? The Thinning doesn’t suffer too much from the latter. However, it’s not clear whether the thinning occurs outside of Texas or not. A confusing speech by Governor makes it seem like it’s only a Texas thing, but then, what is everyone else doing to control the population? Also, if other states are not executing high school kids, then why are they okay with Texas killing them?

Perhaps all that is nitpicking. At the end of the 90-minute run-time,The Thinning tells its story in an entertaining way. The film’s not groundbreaking in any way, but it’s not trying to be. It’s trying to be a solid dystopian story, and it mostly succeeds. However, the end cliffhanger gets an A for effort but an F- for execution. Commence, the thinning!

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