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I saw this film with two senior citizens; I'd picked it out from the video store -- which I did frequently for these friends. The husband was in his 80s, his wife her late 60s; both love the theater and have been active in local amateur productions. We all thought this film was exceptional -- in just about every way. Delroy Lindo has a typically rather small part (unfortunately) but manages to be breathtakingly captivating for every moment he's onscreen (also typical for him). But the maturity of the young man, the son who has just seen his parents break up in a rather nasty fashion -- that's what's so outstanding. His presence, his sense-of-self, his ability to steer his way through difficult situations into a growing awareness of what matters and what doesn't. Rarely are teenagers or young twenty-somethings given roles where this is shown. Finding one's way to maturity doesn't usually get such an honest treatment; maybe it's unappealing to teenagers to see it told without the usual Hollywood froo-frah of frat house parties, beer guzzling, and bimbos. Too bad. Yes, this does have a bit of that "play made into a movie" feel to it; but what a play, and what a movie, nonetheless. Hats off to Sam Shepard, and all the other actors and crew for this piece. Shepard himself is not onscreen much, but excellent in the opening as the hot-tempered father. We end up, as the film goes on, seeing Shepard through the character of the son, so much so, he seems to be in almost every scene. Just look in the young man's eyes, how he carries himself, how he appraises himself and others clearly and honestly, but without the usual teenage brashness of expression. He's more the strong, silent type. Maybe you have to be over 30 (I'm 47) to like/love this film. It's kind of a modern-day "noir" film -- except it's not a crime movie; more of an existentialist, Sartre "No Exit" type of work. But it's not exactly that bleak, either: the strength, the resolve of the son, as well as the damaged, semi-paranoid character played by Lindo -- both these men cannot be forgotten, and neither can ultimately be seen as tragic figures. The film's story texture allows for much richer evaluations; it may be raw, it may be rough, but you come away uplifted by what you've witnessed.
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