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Stars: Russell Crowe, Sophie Traub, Jon Foster, Laura Dern, Alexis Dziena, Arija Bareikis, Michael Kelly

Director: Jonn Polson

Obviously it pays to have Crowe (who reprotedly filmed all his scenes in nine days) as a friend since, on the basis of Emil Stern’s less-than-compelling screenplay and on the finished film itself, it’s hard to imagine what other reason, apart from the star’s friendship with fellow-antipodean director Polson, Crowe could have had for lending his name and talent to a mostly minor thriller which, reportedly, is to make its US bow on DVD.

Crowe is atypically subdued and uncharismatic in the role of a morose police lieutenant determined to prevent 18-year-old Foster, just released from detention in a juvenile prison for murdering his parents, from killing again.

Things stir somewhat when Foster meets 15-year-olde Traub who is obsessed with the lad and his homicidal past. But, despite this potentially interesting turn of events, Polson fails to generate much suspense or, in truth, much interest in the lower-than-low key affair.

The young leads are adequate although never stretched, Crowe is criminally wasted and ultimately one character’s remark describing horoscopes as “kind of bullshit” unfortunately applies to the entire enterprise.

(For trivia fans, ex-actor Fisher Stevens is credited as one of the producers).

Alan Frank

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Lionsgate UK. Colour.
101 minutes. not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 29 Jun 2009