Top critical review
Powerful, but ...
on May 19, 2002
I did not see this movie until very recently, and had heard quite a bit about it from many colleagues and friends of mine. So, indeed, I sat down to watch it with the expectation of being moved or struck by some conflicting theme that lay within the boiling heart of this movie with the tagline "Some Legacies Must End".
I was disappointed, and would like to say why. First of all, I can't malign Edward Norton. I think that his performance is .. breathtaking, and certainly worth seeing the movie for. Indeed, I don't say that one shouldn't see this movie. However, and I won't give away the ending, it's not worth owning. Edward Furlong was a welcome presence here, and one I hope to see more from - and I don't remember his name, but the large man who drove the bug truck - was wonderful. I hated him every second.
However, the plot was lacking. There was no subtlety, and the characters seemed so one-sided as to almost be farcical ...types of actual people. The point may have been, in this movie, to provide no subtlety, and to be violent with the plot and imagery, but I think some of that was lost in the intent. The opening scenes were of a beach or an area like that, with waves slowly lapping in over the sands. If that was meant to convey some great metaphor, I think I must have missed it. Flashbacks in black-and-white seemed meaningful, and the character of Derek was intelligent as well as conflicted, but I didn't understand his metamorphosis, and I found it extremely hard to believe that his younger brother would simply .. alter his ways just like that.
All in all, I'd only give this movie the three stars on the basis of the strong, strong acting. It's only missing the last two of plot and development.