Highly Overlooked Movie With A Haunting Theme Song!!
By a customer
, 18 Aug 2009
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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After first seeing the video for 'Live To Tell' by 'Madonna' way back in her glory days, I have always been curious about the movie behind the song.
Based on a real life series of murders that shocked 1970's Pennsylvania, committed by 'Bruce Johnston Sr.' In this account the surname has been changed to 'Whitewood' but the story pretty much remains the same.
'Sean Penn' stars as 'Brad Jr' a teenager who is bored with his monotonous small town lifestyle of hanging out with a band of misfit friends and getting high with his stoner brother 'Tommy' (Christopher Penn).
Coming from a broken home consisting of an estranged criminal father, the tough matriarchal grandmother (Played by Penns real life mother), an abusive step-father and a mother who seems emotionally detached from her life, it is quite easy to understand & sympathise with his frustrations.
When Brad meets and falls in love with 15 yr old 'Terry' played by 'Mary Stuart Masterson', things finally seem promising.
However life takes a dramatic turn for the worse when Brad Sr (Played by the superb 'Christopher Walken) suddenly re-enters his son's life. A man who's criminal activities stir up curious impulses in the young Brad, along with an even stronger desire to be loved & accepted by this always elusive figure.
Introduced to his fathers dysfunctional world of theft, hijacking and eventually murder, Brad initially is suitably impressed with the small gift tokens of cash and a new car, but more importantly by the attention that he has always craved which is now being bestowed upon him. Unfortunately for Penn's character this highly sought after relationship ultimately comes with a heavy price.
Terry on the other hand has set her sights on making a real life with Brad Jr, complete with plans of marriage, baby and a fresh start in a new state. She wants nothing more than to escape their miserable little town and to be far away from the calculating Brad Sr, and the hypnotic hold he seems to possess over his impresionable young son.
Walkens sociopath character eventually rears its ugly head when Penn witnesses the cold blooded murder of an ex gang member, and decides to take Terry and run.
There is a great support cast here from the Eerie Crispin Glover (Sporting a very dodgy haircut) he plays Brads egocentric & highly jealous friend Lucas. Also Kiefer Sutherland (Very little dialogue here) and Stephen Geoffreys (Who later transcended into the gay porn industry) play friends 'Tim' & 'Aggie'.
The best screen moments for me had to be the scenes between father & son, 'Walkens' performance is pure magnetising as he plays evil so unsuspecting with his softly spoken voice, graceful demeanour, and his heavily made-up face only adds to give him an offbeat edge. Then we have a blonde Penn with his sexy smile, intense eyes, and cocky strut.
The one character who I empathised with the most at the end of this movie had to be the character of Terry, as I felt so sickened by all the horrible things she had to endure as a result of loving Brad.
My only negative comment about this film would be that it moves at a rather slow pace which some people may find tedious, but then again it also holds a power which draws you in at the same time, making you really care about our young lovers and how the story will end. :)
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