Brian Cox, Paul Franklin Dano, Bruce Altman
Widescreen; commentary by director Michael Cuesta and actor Brian Cox; deleted scenes.
|With empathy and an unerring grasp of his characters, director/co-screenwriter Michael Cuesta gives us a somber, distressing new take on an old story: reckless youth in crisis. Howie Blitzer (Paul Franklin Dano) is a hard-luck 15-year-old kid from the Long Island, N.Y., suburbs. He gets picked on at school by larger classmates and ignored at home by his self-centered, recently widowed father (Bruce Altman). So Howie follows the lead of Gary, who's a self-assured teenage schemer and budding criminal. The two team up with a couple of other buddies to rob local homes for fun and profit. It's a blast until Gary and Howie sneak into the house of an elderly, decorated ex-Marine veteran (Brian Cox), and the robbery goes wrong. Can things get worse for Howie? Well, he's particularly vulnerable and in need of a father figure; the old military man happens to have a predilection for young boys. That's an ugly situation, but, wisely, Cuesta never allows things to get too lurid.|