Who Killed Cock Robin?

Director: Travis Wilkerson
Screenwriters: Travis Wilkerson

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Like a rare piece of American folk art, Who Killed Cock Robin? is hand-forged from ideas and ideals. In it you can see the workmanship and feel the passion of its maker. It is lean and sparse, simple and straightforward; every element is linked to the next. The roots of the work are in experimental film, but Who Killed Cock Robin? also plays as an exquisite "experiment." The fusion of the two sets Travis Wilkerson up as one of the most interesting filmmakers working today.

The story lies in the intersecting lives of three men living in Butte, Montana. Barret Murphy, like the town, has had a rough go of it. He keeps his job and hangs on with the help of his two friends: Charlie, his landlord and makeshift father figure, and his best friend Dylan, raised with privilege and someone who understands Barret politically if not emotionally. Their temporal happy existence is tested, however, when Barret has a run-in with the law.

Wilkerson's filmmaking rides the rhythms of the origins of American music, from folk songs that sing the story of struggle to the rigorous drumming of Irish clogging. In one bold stroke, Who Killed Cock Robin? typifies an America many experience too intimately. It's an America that can be too unforgiving and harsh for those forced to live only one mistake away from the bottom rung of the ladder.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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