Here are two suprisingly similar films, both about a ‘charming’ stranger who comes to down (I meant to type town, but comes down also seems right) and disrupts and exploits the weaknesses of a family – Baptist evangelicals in the case of “The King”:http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=147379, and a down at heel Californian family in “Down in the Valley”:http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/down_in_the_valley/. This male stranger starts off attractive, charming, mysterious -almost with no background, seductive, offering something authentic in the face of a not-quite-functioning family/society. In both, the target, at least initially, is a rebellious or would-be rebellious teenage daughter, but a brother is drawn in in both films – though with very different consequences.
Guns and weapons figure large in both as property of both the father (the menace of American force behind the veneer of civilisation and/or religion) and in the hands of the outsider who uses them more appealingly but with no less, or actually, more destructive effect.
This outsider is ambiguous, offering energy and a relationship to teenage children that parents/fathers/step-fathers can’t seem to, but he ends up offering or delivering something quite unambiguous in its destructiveness – a devil in The King, and a disturbed, disowned and hurt young criminal in the Valley.