2 April 2011 | wes-connors
Try a Little Tenderness
Convicted as a juvenile, handsome young Jon Foster (as Eric Komenko) gets out of jail free, despite being a psychopathic killer. Lonely and abused teenager Sophie Traub (as Lorelei "Lori" Cranston) has become infatuated with Mr. Foster, and has been keeping a scrapbook on him. She decides to join Foster on a trip to look at colleges in upstate New York, by stowing away in the back seat of his car. Foster, who is also looking to keep a sex date with another female admirer, wants to get rid of Ms. Traub. But, as they travel, Foster becomes attached to Traub. Then, he learns she witnessed a crime...
Meanwhile, police lieutenant Russell Crowe (as John Cristofuoro) follows the young couple. After helping put Foster in the pokey, Mr. Crowe developed a strange bond with the young killer. Crowe thinks Foster will kill again...
"Tenderness" starts out by having you think it's going somewhere else. It also toys around with eroticism. But, the film is really more like a character study. Foster is a psychopathic killer who Crowe feels is apt to kill again, with vulnerable underage Traub the likely victim. Walking off with the best-written role, Traub actually provides Foster with some measure of salvation. The film is subtly acted and directed, looks great for the price, but stops short of excellence. The character played by Crowe is not drawn well into events; he and his invalid wife are far too detached from the main characters.
****** Tenderness (1/15/09) John Polson ~ Jon Foster, Sophie Traub, Russell Crowe, Laura Dern