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Mark H. Baker
Living in the rural Texas panhandle is a dysfunctional family: an abusive dad, a Vietnam vet with a war wound that's left him impotent; a compliant wife and a son of about 20, who have an incestuous relationship at the insistence of the dad; and, two small sons who look a lot like their brother. The dad harbors a secret, and he goes to murderous lengths to keep it hidden. The young man, Jimmy, who sleeps out in the shed, has suspicions, but little comes out until a Yankee woman of middle age comes to town looking for a dead private eye. And why does dad keep calling Jimmy, "little boy blue"? Written by
At the end of the movie, when those two boys got out of the house, they were just wearing white tube socks, and they were walking on muddy surface. After a while, they somehow were wearing rubber boots. And when they were sleeping in the policeman's car, their white socks look clean without any mud on them. See more »
Although interesting in retrospect, the film is made confusing in the first half owing to a difficult plot structure. Character motivations and relationships are not at all easy to figure out. A youthful Jimmy West (Ryan Phillippe) lives with his mom Kate (Nastassja Kinski) and dad Ray (John Savage) in their trashy trailer in rural Texas. Ray and Kate run a country-western bar. Two little boys also live in the same trailer. The plot gives the impression of a dysfunctional family, but the situation is actually worse than it at first seems.
This is one of those films that can be frustrating because so much remains hidden from the viewer. Explanations do come at the end, for the most part. So the viewer will need to be patient.
The main problem here is a script that needed a re-write or two. After all is revealed, I still didn't understand the motivations of Kate. A major character, one that doesn't show up until well into the film, probably needed to be introduced a little earlier in the plot. And though the two little boys are cute, too much plot time is spent on them relative to the film's underlying message.
Yet, the story premise is fairly unique, and quite stunning. Color cinematography is properly dark, consistent with the dark, menacing tone of the story. Lots of close-ups, even extreme close-ups, stress the importance of character over action. Attention to detail in production design and some good Tex-Mex music add authenticity to the contemporary setting.
Casting is acceptable. Overall acting is above average. I really liked the performance of Shirley Knight. And John Savage gives his usual intense performance.
"Little Boy Blue" conveys the message that people aren't always what they seem to be. And their secrets can negatively impact the lives of those around them. Despite some plot problems in the first half, the film is worth watching both for the acting and especially for the film's underlying premise.
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