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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Conflicting loyalties, difficult moral choices, and insane peer
pressure form the dominant themes of this premier film from young
filmmakers Kris Rey-Talley and Matt Michener. The film holds a level of
suspense that balances sometimes unremitting grimness with exquisite
sensitivity to the angst-ridden social lives and mores of suburban
teenagers. High school dropout Jimmy Donovan tries to be a worthy older
brother to his six year old sister, as well as loyal son, while dealing
marijuana on a small scale in a racially and economically diverse
community, to keep the family's bills paid and his cancer-ridden mother
free from pain. His life faces re-examination when the opportunity
arises to cash in big selling heroin.
While the only three major adult characters smack of stereotypes belying their pivotal roles, the youthful actors carry themselves with dignity and strength unusual in films of this genre. Thoughtfully scripted and directed, with just enough unexpected plot twists, the few minor pacing glitches do little to diminish the value of this surprisingly excellent film.
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