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Tenderness (2009)

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A policeman works to figure out whether a violent teen murdered his family.

Director:

John Polson

Writers:

Emil Stern (screenplay), Robert Cormier (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Russell Crowe ... Lt. Cristofuoro
Jon Foster ... Eric Poole
Sophie Traub ... Lori
Laura Dern ... Aunt Teresa
Alexis Dziena ... Maria
Arija Bareikis ... Marsha
Tim Hopper ... Dan Komenko
Vivienne Benesch Vivienne Benesch ... Lisa Komenko
Brian Patrick Russell ... Facility Director (as Brian Russell)
Lou Sumrall Lou Sumrall ... Cafeteria Guard
Tanya Clarke ... Jackie Cristofuoro
Michael Kelly ... Gary
Lee R. Sellars ... Sam (as Lee Sellars)
Matt Pepper Matt Pepper ... Ben
Saul Stein ... Another Guard
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Storyline

Three lives. Buffalo detective Lt. Cristofuoro, whose catatonic wife is in hospital, takes a special interest in Eric Komenko, a juvenile who killed his parents and will be freed on his 18th birthday. So does Lori Cranston, 15 or 16, her body fully developed and the object of lust by her boss and her mother's new boyfriend. She keeps a scrapbook about Eric, and when he's released from custody, she hides in the backseat of his car, insisting he take her with him on a trip toward Albany where he's planning to meet a girl. Cristofuoro is certain Eric will kill again, so he follows. It's clear early on that Cristofuoro's probably right, but what's Lori's motivation? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The intimacy of the kill.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 2009 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Tenderness - Auf der Spur des Killers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Russell Crowe filmed all of his scenes in 9 days. See more »

Goofs

Near the end when the Detective is sponging off his wife's body, she has bikini tan lines, which make no sense since she's been paralyzed in the hospital for a long time. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lt. Cristofuoro: My wife likes to say there are two kinds of people, those chasing pleasure, and those running from pain. Lorelei Cranston is Running. Running from all kinds of everything. Probably has been her whole life.
Lt. Cristofuoro: If you ask me, nobody gets to escape their pain. It's there when you brush your teeth at night. It's there before breakfast. It will come up fierce and sharp, and lay in to you blunt and heavy. The most you can hope for is one good day. Because on a good day you get to tell ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: Episode #11.6 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Back to Earth Again
Written and Performed by David Castle
Published by Engine Co 30 (BMI) and Davyboy Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Rescue Records, a division of 5 Alarm Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It remains an occasionally intense but mostly routine and flat thriller
27 April 2009 | by Likes_Ninjas90See all my reviews

A man named Eric Poole (Jon Foster), who was sent to prison after murdering his parents and raping a girl as an adolescent, is released back into the free world. Living at home and deciding to investigate the colleges of America, Eric is tracked by a lonely girl named Lori (Sophie Traub). Lori has been following Eric's release in the papers and she remembers meeting him once from a brief chance encounter. After she sneaks into the back of his car, Eric and Lori eventually come together and stay on the road, gradually remembering when they first met. Eric is also pursued by an obsessed cop, Detective Cristofuoro (Russell Crowe), a man who is grieving in having to look after his paralysed wife.

Though an initially intense and interesting film, Tenderness directed by John Polson (who previously made Swimfan and Hide and Seek) remains a rather uneventful and often unconvincing crime thriller. The opening quarter of the film, while leisurely paced, is constructed to develop our interest into how these characters are interconnected with each other. Certainly there are a number of fascinating questions asked; such as why this teenage girl is unconcerned by the dangers of this lunatic and why Cristofuoro himself is to obsessed with his own pursuite, surely not just because of his instincts and his proper sense of the law. Where the film falls apart though is in its undeveloped answers to many of these. The girl's eventual fate is a grim and depressing one, and though we do see portions of her life as being undesirable - her mother has a new boyfriend moving into their house and Lori is forced to flash her breasts for a man's pleasure - there is never a completely satisfying closure to her unhappiness. Furthermore, Cristofuoro's insistence to follow Eric and try to catch him out leaves much to be desired for the character. He does not spend a great deal of time interacting with his target and merely describes it as his hobby. There must be a stronger grudge between the men, than a mere obsession; it remains a rather flat and uninteresting part.

As with the script, the performances of the film are relatively uneven as well. Russell Crowe is always a strong actor but he is at his best in portraying masculine figures of internal conflict. Here he is given a fairly routine and slightly disappointing role. His reliance on an American accent is at times jarring and unnecessary and like in Ridley Scott's film Body of Lies, he does not seem to have a great deal to do in the film. For such a powerful actor, his part is quite underwritten and does not benefit from a substantial level of character development. Sophie Traub as Lori is reasonable in her role, sometimes exuding emotion but occasionally irritable in trying to be funny and energetic. It is most disappointing that we never really reach a deeper understanding of her unhappiness and discomfort in life. It would have contributed a much stronger emotional pull to the film. As Eric, Jon Foster is sometimes intense but mostly blank, never entirely capturing the chilling sense of menace and dread that he could have. There are moments that we suspect Eric may succumb to his desires to kill but this level of tension needed to be more persistent to illuminate the threat that he is. There are certainly some assets to the film; the flashbacks to Eric's brutal crimes are used to show his current struggle of emotions. Yet as with Lori, we never gain a significant insight into his true psychosis.

Tenderness would have benefited from a stronger script that would allow more opportunities to delve into the anxiety of both a teenager and the internal confliction of a teenager. As it stands, it never reaches the heights of a film like The Woodsman and it remains an occasionally intense but mostly routine and flat thriller that owed a lot more to the abilities of its star, Russell Crowe.


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