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(Review originally written at 18 November 2008)

This is a rather cheap movie and I don't mean cheap in terms of its budget (well, perhaps also a bit) but more in terms of its story and clich├ęs. Seriously, this movie fairly much progresses just as you would expect it to and it just doesn't really have any surprises in it.

Yet it picks in original approach, by telling the story from the viewpoint of an 10 year old boy, who's mother is an heroin addict. So you see the usual story from an unusual viewpoint. It adds some originality and effectiveness to the story but yet overall the movie remains mostly shallow, which is not due to the acting or overall written but more to the directing.

The movie really isn't always flowing well and it also isn't helped much by its horrible musical score. The way the story is being told is weak at times and the movie too often chooses fast cuts and scenes often end too abruptly. The movie at points often leaves an unsatisfying impression because of this, though the movie its intentions are all good. Because of the storytelling I felt a certain distance to the story and character and wasn't overall grabbed by it. The movie because of this also doesn't work out as realistic as it potentially could had. Despite the actor's efforts most characters remain mainly stereotypical ones. No, I can't say Gillies MacKinnon is my favorite director, even though this movie is the only one I have seen by him. The movie is just not the most effective or powerful one within its genre.

All of the actors are basically doing a good job but they don't really make the movie, or their characters more interesting than they are. Harry Eden is praised to heaven for his performance and it is a good role for an 12 year old but no people he really isn't that great. In some of the sequences (especially the emotional ones) his acting is simply lacking and I couldn't ever feel any of the pain or anger his character went trough, which again, might also be rather due to the movie its directing approach than anything else really. The movie also stars David Wenham and Keira Knightley before their days of fame. I like Keira Knightley and all but you can actually wonder what she is doing here in this movie. Her role on paper might seem like a relevant one but in the movie it works out as a redundant one, whose plot line is distracting from the one the movie is really all about.

I don't mean to sound too harsh about this movie, since its definitely a watchable one. It's just that it's also currently being overrated and overpraised on here, for something that it just really isn't.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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