Writer: Matthew Ryan Hoge (Screenplay)
Starring: Don Cheadle, Ryan Gosling, Chris Klein, Jena Malone, Lena Olin, Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams, Martin Donovan
Plot: After stabbing an autistic boy, the sixteen year old troubled and pessimist Leland P. Fitzgerald is sent to a juvenile detention. His teacher and aspirant writer Pearl Madison gets close and tries to understand him, first with intention of writing a book, and later becoming his friend. Leland slowly discloses his sad vision of world.
Verdict: Beautifully Troubled Drama
Story: Looking in a mixture of flashbacks of what leads up to the crime as well as seeing the effects it has had on the people’s lives involved. We follow how a seemingly awkward teenager’s look on life changes leading to the fatal consequences. We also see how the both families deal with the aftermath. We also see how one man tries to help only to end up looking like he is trying to make something for himself, but also learns to look at things a different way because of his time with Leland. Mixing it all together we get to look at how one person view of the world can change it for everyone involved. (8/10)
Don Cheadle: Pearl a teacher at the detention centre who takes an interest in Leland, mostly to start a book about him because he seems different to the rest of the teenagers in the centre. He tries his best to do the right thing but in the end is left helpless with what happens in the end. Good performance showing he can walk into lead roles with ease. (8/10)
Ryan Gosling: Leland the troubled teenager who has killed an autistic kid, but his reasons are unknown and it is not until he speaks with Pearl he shows his reasoning which shows the world in a very different view. Good performance showing that Ryan was always going to be a big name in the world of Hollywood. (9/10)
Chris Klein: Allen friend of the family who has been involved with one of the daughters of the victim’s family, but when he starts to feel distant from the relationship he tries his hardest to make amends for the murdered child. Good performance from Chris showing he could have been a star, but he has yet to shine. (7/10)
Jena Malone: Becky love interest of Leland as well as sister to the murdered child, whose own problems have pushed Leland away and led him to see the world very differently. Solid performance from Jena who starred in plenty of these type of dramas in the early noughties. (7/10)
Kevin Spacey: Albert father of Leland who has been very distant in fact he hasn’t seen him since he was six as he pays for Leland to spend time away around the world. Good performance in the few scenes he is in. (7/10)
Supporting Cast: With an exceptional supporting cast including Michelle Williams, Lena Olin and Kerry Washington, we get solid performances from all of them. (7/10)
Director Review: Matthew Ryan Hoge – Good direction throughout to make a compelling drama. (8/10)
Drama: Brilliant drama looking at how one crime can change so many people’s lives. (9/10)
Settings: Each setting seems to be leading to the final outcome for our leading boy Leland. (7/10)
Suggestion: This is one to try, I really don’t think it will be popular for many people as the subject matter is bleak and sometimes tries to balance too many stories. (Try It)
Best Part: The relationship between Pearl and Leland.
Worst Part: Not enough time spent with Leland and Pearl.
Believability: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Box Office: $350,000
Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes
Tagline: Crime. Confusion. Compassion. They’re all just states of mind.
Overall: Compelling drama