4 March 2007 | LARSONRD
Informative and compelling drama about real life.
Another hard-hitting and thought-provoking drama. Director Aric Avelino examines guns from the perspective of four separate stories: Marcia Gay Hardin as the mother of an Oregon teenager who shot up his school, Columbine-like, and faces guilt and blame and scorn from neighbors, and worry about her other son, who is now the same age as the other brother when he performed his murderous act and suicide; an inner city school principal (excellently played by Forest Whitaker, who I was pleased to see won an Oscar last week for his role as Idi Amin in LAST KING OF Scotland) trying to stay on top of the school's anti-gun policy, with Arlen Escarpeta as an A-student carrying for his mom and family who feels he needs a gun for protection while walking to/from school; Tony Goldwyn as the cop who first arrived on scene at the Oregon school shooting and who faces community/media criticism for delayed response (again, very much based on Columbine); and Linda Cardellini who shines in a very convincing performance as a west coast girl displaced to a Virginia college who is working in her granddad's (Donald Sutherland) gun shot. All of the performances, in fact, are striking and through them the picture really has an emotional impact. The film, without comment, portrays these differing views of gun ownership, gun violence, school shootings, guilt, blame, etc., very nicely filmed and beautifully portrayed, its vignettes and its style leaving the viewer to establish their own viewpoint and opinions. The film keeps its personal viewpoint quiet, instead simply portraying a few aspects of American life impacted by the consequences of guns. Like American HISTORY X, I found this to be a provoking and stimulating drama about reality, choices, consequences, and inevitability, peopled by honest and real characters, superbly portrayed and beautifully composed.