What a shame. This movie starts off incredibly well and very promising but things start to go downhill at just about the halfway point. The movie doesn't handle all of its developments in the best or most effective way, which sort of causes the movie to fizzle out.
And really, I truly thought that this movie was a great one for most part at first. It definitely was way better than I had anticipated and it also was a way better movie than the premise makes it sound. It thankfully isn't the heavy handed and serious movie it may sound like and it neither is the silly and over-the-top action flick that you may fear it to be, in which a young, innocent, teen girl is trapped in a world of violence and drugs but it's an engaging and interesting drama nevertheless, with some realistic and likable characters, all played by some wonderful actors. It's basically a really good Hollywood crime drama, told from an original perspective. The movie does a good job setting things up but it starts to loose some of its plausibility- and definitely becomes a lesser movie, once things heat up and start to take a turn for the worse.
Not that the movie ever becomes a truly terrible one with anything but it just can't ever live up to its far more effective and engaging first half. The way things develop in the second half never feel as natural and realistic as still was the case within the first half. Some of the developments even ruin some of the things the movie had previously build up within its first half in my opinion, once it starts making some bad decisions, not just with its story but also with its characters.
Guess the movie is trying too hard to become a crime movie toward the end, while the movie its strongest and most interesting element are actually all part of its drama. The movie works out great at the start because most of the characters are set up well and work out as engaging ones, that are easy to get behind and you feel that you can understand and maybe even relate to their thoughts, emotions and actions. The movie feels subtle, honest and effective. Once all of this starts to become less important for the movie and it's throwing in some more Hollywood like clichés and developments, I started to loose interested in it as well. Suddenly I wasn't as much behind the characters as I was before and I just couldn't understand all of their thoughts and reasoning anymore.
I also strongly do feel that some of the things may have worked out better if only it had spend even some more time on the character development and maybe by giving certain characters some more screen time as well. The 'villains' for instance aren't enough in the movie to 'hate', despite the actors best efforts. Without exaggerating, I actually think this is one of Sean Bean's finest performances to date and Jake Busey also basically is being his wonderful evil and crazy self again. Yet it doesn't feel like their characters are making a big enough impact on the story and the other characters, even while the movie is still trying very hard to convince us otherwise. I don't know, it's hard to put my finger on really but it feels like there is something missing from this movie. Something to make it truly work out as a great and totally successful one. Maybe it's true that this is a movie that actually could have used an additional 20-30 minutes, for its story to have a better flow to it and for things to develop both more naturally and effectively and to let its conclusion work out as a better and more effective one as well.
But really, it's still a perfectly watchable movie. Despite a somewhat slower pace at the start of it, it never becomes a 'slow' or boring one to watch as well. The movie also is definitely worth watching for the acting alone. Really all of the actors are great in this and the young Abigail Breslin once again does a great job carrying a movie for most part.
A good movie, that so easily could have been a great one though.