Posted on 10/27/09 12:13 PM
I'll start off by saying, this film is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. There is no gore, nor is there brutal bloody violence. But the film deals with issues that are usually hush-hush in society. Issues that make us squirm and feel uneasy. In all, it reveals the darkest depths of human nature.
This film is about two teens dealing with something larger than themselves. One is an introverted/sweet young man, Brian (Brady Corbet- 'Funny Games') who can not remember his past. He is determined to prove that he had in-fact, been abducted by extraterrestrials. After all, what else can explain the blackouts, nosebleeds, and sudden loss of memory he experienced as a child?
The other young man could not be more different than sensitive Brian. As a child, Neil (Joseph-Gordon Levitt- '(500) Days of Summer') was wise beyond his years (emotionally, and even sexually). Being the star player on his little-league baseball team, he believed his coach took a liking to him because of his talent. His mother didn't seem to notice him, but Coach did. What seemed like innocent trips to the pizza parlor and video game nights turned into much more. Coach loved Neil in a way no one else did, and it didn't matter what happened next.
At the age of 18, in search of the love and adoration Coach showed him, we see Neil as a gay hustler. He understands he was molested, yet he is so damaged that it doesn't seem to phase him. In search of happiness away from small-town Kansas, he moves to New York City. Here he comes to grip with reality and becomes an empty shell of a human being. Yet, he is also liberated and experiences a sort of epiphany. He finally confronts his past by conversing with the equally damaged Brian.
As far as the actors go, I have SO MUCH respect for Joseph-Gordon Levitt. His performance was so very real. Almost too real. There were many scenes where I wanted to grab him through the television screen and simply hold him. Tell him it's going to be okay.
My, oh my was this film powerful. The subject matter has been done before, but it's never been captured so... raw. For instance, we see Coach seducing an 8 year old child, but we also know that the child is not irked by it. As bad as this may sound... he is provoking it. This is where many find this film to be sick and wrong.
All in all, this film shows the effects of a pedophilic relationship on different people, and how they react to it. It is a slice of life, albeit a very dark one, that does occur each and every day.
View this film with an open mind. It WILL challenge and move you.