I wasn’t sure I wanted to bother with this movie. The trailers looked good, but they didn’t reach out and grab me. It all looked a little too “cliché” and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to bother with it. But it did look like it might be good, so I went ahead and took in a matinée on Saturday afternoon.
The plot was all too familiar – yet another new twist on the whole “Rebel Without a Cause” theme. Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) is a troubled young man about to turn 22 – the same age his older brother, Michael, was when he committed suicide on his birthday. His family is rich, but he lives in a pig pen apartment with an obnoxious room-mate (Tate Ellington) and goes around looking like a homeless bum wearing dirty, wrinkled, ill-fitting clothes. He holds a lot of anger in his life and takes it out on the world. His parents (Pierce Brosnan and Lena Olin) are divorced – the family broke apart after Michael’s suicide. His 11-year-old sister lives with his mother and her husband. Tyler’s anger with life gets him involved in a street fight and then gets mouthy and pushy with a detective (Chris Cooper) who busts his face up arresting him. His room-mate dares him to connect with the cop’s daughter, Ally (Emilie De Ravin), and then do something embarrassing to her for revenge on her father. Tyler starts a relationship with her and, instead of dumping her, they fall in love and he starts to turn his attitude around. Ally comes with her own baggage – her mother was brutally murdered while waiting for a subway train and an 11-year-old Ally was there with her and witnesses the whole thing.
The movie started out slow and boring – I didn’t have much hope that it would turn the predictable story line into anything special. But, soon the redeeming qualities started to be noticable.
Brosnan and Cooper were very effective as the two fathers. Brosnan as the rich, powerful executive who keeps everyone he loves at arm’s length because of the pain of losing his oldest son. He participates in their lives to the extent that the shields he has constructed will allow, but it isn’t enough for them and they think he doesn’t care about them. Cooper as the over protective father using his position on the police force to keep from losing the only family he has left to a rebellious thug.
The relationships all come together beautifully. The actors did a top-notch job of bringing the characters to life and giving them dimension. There was a simple complexity that drew me in. I believed the characters and felt deep emotion for them and the story line.
The last few scenes were very good and lead up to an extremely powerful ending. Even if it didn’t get better earlier, the ending would have been well worth sitting through the entire two hours. I just sat there holding my breath with tears pouring down my face! When I left, I sat in my car for a few minutes without turning the key to try to get past the emotions I was feeling.
I’m tempted to take off some points for the slow, predictable start, but it did develop into something very profound and overcame the clichés. So, I rate this one an A-. If you decide to go or wait for the DVD, don’t give up on it too soon – it is worth wading through the beginning to get to the treasure.