A twisted take on "Little Red Riding Hood", with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker travelling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer and pedophile.
When Nicole met David; handsome, charming, affectionate, he was everything. It seemed perfect, but soon she sees that David has a darker side. And his adoration turns to obsession, their dream into a nightmare, and her love into fear.
A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.
Bryce (Josh Brolin) is a successful man who returns to his tiny hometown for a visit. While there, he runs into his old friend Nick (Alessandro Nivola). The two decide to go out for the night. When they enter a bar, Bryce encounters Kathy (Reese Witherspoon), a blonde temptress whom he eventually takes home for the night. When he awakens, Kathy informs him that she is underage and threatens to tell the police that Bryce has committed statutory rape. Bryce panics and decides to tie her up and hide her away in the basement. He then makes a call to Nick. Unbeknownst to Bryce, Kathy is actually Nick's girlfriend Lissa. The two had schemed to use Bryce's money to pay off a $15,000 debt they owe small-time hood Jimmy (Terrence Howard).
Not brilliant but distracting if you ignore that it should have been better in several areas
Having met his old buddy Bryce for the first time in years for a drink, Nick gets a call from him in the middle of night asking for help. He goes to Bryce's place where he gets told that Bryce pulled a girl that night, took her home, started messing around and then had sex. However immediately after sex the girl says that she is going to the police to tell them that she was raped. Bryce then takes Nick downstairs where he has the girl tied to a billiard table to prevent her leaving. The two men try to work out what they are going to do, but are things what they seem?
Opening with an interesting set-up, this film jumps back in time and immediately undoes itself with a plot that is interesting but not as good as it really should have been. The plot follows the fall of Nick as he needs more money to cover firstly the dreams he has and then the problems he gets into when he tries to get the money by crime. Essentially this film could have been a mix of Tarantino, Mamet and Usual Suspects twists but it falls short of any of those targets but still manages to produce a reasonably good drama with elements of each. The plot isn't as good once it jumps back four months although it still has enough movement to keep things going. The twists are not that great and the plot itself doesn't make as much logical sense as it would like to think that it does. Nor is it as clever as it would like to think the small town America was well painted but the work on the characters was not as good.
Nivola leads the cast well with a nice performance of subtlety even if the material isn't always there for him. Witherspoon walks the film rather easily with a simple role that only really gets interesting towards the end. Of the rest of the cast Brolin is OK, Howard makes a solid appearance and generally everyone else turns in solid performances. It was a film that I felt the characters could have been more important and better developed but they were still good enough for the cast to work with.
Overall this is a fairly typical thriller with a twist. It seems to want to be a bit like Tarantino with the dialogue edge of Mamet and the twists of things like Suspects but it doesn't really get close to any of them. Still, it produces an engaging thriller that, although not original, is distracting at least.
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