L.I.E. [2001]

A remarkable movie. L.I.E. centers on Howie, a 15-year-old boy whose mother recently died in a car accident. Neglected by his father, an unscrupulous contractor who's constantly having sex with his new girlfriend, Howie falls in with a group of boys who break into houses for kicks. After one break-in Howie is caught by Big John (Brian Cox, the original Hannibal Lecter from Manhunter), a former Marine with a taste for young boys. But the relationship that develops between Howie and Big John surprises them both. L.I.E. captures male adolescence more genuinely than any other film in recent memory; the realism of the relationships, particularly between Howie and his father, is completely compelling. The movie affects all the senses; you can practically feel the texture of Howie's blue flannel sheets, smell the greenery that grows along the Long Island Expressway. Amazing performances, vivid direction, smartly written--superb all around. --Bret Fetzer

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