A grief-stricken mother takes on the LAPD to her own detriment when it stubbornly tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child, while also refusing to give up hope that she will find him one day.
Mark Sway is an 11 year old boy who lives with his mother and brother in a trailer. One day he and his brother are hanging out when a car pulls over beside them. The driver then sticks a hose in his exhaust and puts the other end into the car. Mark pulls it out. But the man sees him and grabs him and takes inside the car. The man talks to Mark then later shoots himself. The shock sends Mark's brother into a catatonic state. The police question him and slips out some stuff that makes them think he's saying more than he knows. Roy Foltrigg, a prosecutor with political ambitions tells Mark he wants to talk to him tomorrow. Mark feeling that he needs a lawyer, sees Reggie Love. Mark tells him about the man who killed himself. Reggie tells him he's a mob lawyer. And one of his clients is a member of a mob family who is suspected of killing a Senator who was trying to take down his family. But because the Senator's body is missing, they can't prosecute him. Reggie thinks Foltrigg thinks the... Written by
Mark Sway is a real hero here, although he is not only a mere child, but a disadvantaged child in the middle of adult power structures breathtaking in their deviousness and casual cruelty. The theme of youngsters forced by circumstances into adult roles and responsibilities, particularly in being more level-headed and mature than their parent(s) has become as strikingly common in contemporary literature as it was strikingly uncommon until about a generation ago. But there are ample parallels to real life in pre-Romantic history. It is really our modern assumptions of prolonged childhood and adolescence which are abnormal in the fuller perspective of human experience. Aren't we on the verge of these concepts' retreating from the apogees to which western culture pushed them in the 19th and early 20th centuries?
If so, this film is on the cusp of the trend. Yet it might never have worked but for the director's good fortune in locating Brad Renfro for the lead role. What a find! His earthy, protean spunk and obliviousness to any cute brown-nosing towards his elders, simply because they are elders, make him entirely convincing in the part. He is, I hope, on his way to being a great actor, but perhaps it will continue to be this film which shows his freshness most clearly.
Not that it isn't very taut cinema in other regards. The build up of drama in the opening scenes is superb, with acting, cinematography, and the score all combining to provide a seamless experience. As one critic put it, it starts like a house afire, and the fire never goes out. This is a film one can see again and again, noticing additional fine touches each time.
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