What a surprise this little gem turned out to be, I consider it a true 'find'. Movies like this give new hope to an industry dominated by mega budget, cartoon character type CGI marvels - works that mostly add about as much to the quality of our lives as an empty popcorn packet. I came across this while looking for something else (I don't even remember what). Five minutes in I kept waiting for the thing to fall over in a heap like so many others in this genre, but it just kept getting better! What struck me first was the script – there was this scene with a young (8-10yr old) boy in a confessional (quite against his will and I agree with him). When asked what sins he had committed he said he did not know – it was the way he said it and the expressions on his face that showed he really didn't know. Here was a mostly decent kid, without interest or cause to be 'sinful'. Next, we meet this lads father who's just about to look after him for the weekend while his ex is away with her new hubby. Her parting words to them: "Please don't get into any trouble", with dad's famous last words reply: "How much trouble can we get into over two days"!
It's about to get interesting in so many ways and on so many realistic levels. Dad (Clive Owen) is struggling with overcoming a drinking habit, while he claims not to be drinking – it seems he still might be. His rather special son, Anthony (superbly played by Jaden Lieberher - this lad is most impressive!) is heading for an important learning curve with several challenging situations coming his way. Next we meet Otto, well played by ex-heart throb Robert Forster who is perfect for this role. Between dad and Otto (dads father?) young Anthony will learn valuable lessons about the complicated responsibilities of grown-up life. The whole script is virtually spot-on regarding the difficulties of understanding the adult world through young eyes. Anthony's dad is very down on his luck just now and his son is about to take this on-board first hand. With so many movies being lauded by the Academy and their trendy, soulless, critics, movies like this have become rare, and like this one, they shine brightly amid the overindulgence. It also quite powerfully highlights how current USA economic politics have unfairly dealt a blow to many of its own citizens (while this is filmed in Canada - the story is set in Kent Washington with its crushed economy).
For this work, the Award-nominated writer Bob Nelson (for Nebraska '13) is also director/producer (first effort), and he delivers a well-realized result with much to be admired. While he could seem a tad confused with some aspects of religiosity he at least leaves it open to serious thought. Also in the cast is another ex-heart throb Matthew Modine, playing new husband to dad's ex-wife Maria Bello (Jan Austen Book club '07). The slick cinematography comes from talented English born (now based in N.Y.) Terry Stacey. One or two story aspects keep this from reaching its target audience, such as several mildly dramatic situations and use of blasphemy in place of four-letter words (but in many people's book that's the same anyway!) That aside, this is recommended for thinking/feeling audiences – tired of the same old Hollywood blockbusters and looking for some 'real' people who most could identify with.
By the way, this is not a straight comedy as it's very wrongly being marketed - it's a drama with a little humour and while it's inspired by a classic of the past "The Bycical Thieves" it is far from a re-make as some have suggested - it may be the same genre but, this work stands its own ground very well. Find it on DVD or Foxtel.
Action / Comedy
Action / Comedy
Eight year old Anthony is somewhat uneasy about spending the weekend with his alcoholic, down-on-his-luck carpenter dad Walt while his mom Bonnie and her new husband Kyle go to a Catholic retreat together. Walt is just as uneasy about spending time with Anthony, especially since their first day together is a series of characteristically unfortunate events, including his truck breaking down, his landlord locking him out of the house, and the theft of his toolbox, which he needs for an upcoming job. As Walt and Anthony set about finding the guy who stole the tools and improvise around their other misfortunes, they begin to discover a true connection with each other, causing Walt to become a better father and Anthony to reveal the promise and potential of the good man he will become.
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May 27, 2016 at 02:48 PM