Based on the story of four boys growing up in the same neighborhood and forced to spend a year together in a hell known as the Wilkinson Home for Boys, you are introduced to the men they have become. Some went good, some went bad - but none of them forgot the horror they all shared and never spoke of. Another film with the background of guards mistreating prisoners (albeit boys), you find another look into the face of revenge most sweet.
Fortunately an excellent cast helps you overlook the violence and unnecessary evil in this movie - Jason Patric, Brad Pitt, Minnie Driver, Kevin Bacon, Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro. Their performance, however is not enough to overcome the blase and offhand characters in this show, leaving you wanting a little more than is given.
Bacon as usual is the bad guy guard that physically, emotionally and sexually exploits these boys while they are in jail. Later, as adults, two of the boys run across him in a restaurant but he is oblivious to exactly who they are. Angered and revengeful they kill him. Brad Pitt plays the part of the district attorney that must prosecute the case against his former friends and cell mates and discovers the only way he can save them, although he is supposed to be against them, is to bring up the abuse they all suffered in the past. They are represented by Hoffman, a general alcoholic of less than upbeat character.
Driver and Pitt go to DeNiro, local priest, and tell the story asking for his help. DeNiro, usually a powerful performer, gives a less than stellar performance in his role. In fact, you often feel he is not even present throughout the shooting of the movie.
Though this could have been a more powerful movie, I felt most of the actors fell flat in their parts with the exception of Driver who was outgoing as usual. Perhaps they could have become more involved with the lives of the players or have given one or two of them a more powerful role to play. In all, it wasn't that bad of a movie, but fell short in some of the story line.
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
Live your life with the goal to 'pay it forward' and do one good thing for someone else
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Tommy, John, Michael, and Shakes are four young teenage punks growing up in the streets of Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen in the mid-1960s. When these four friends pull a prank that that goes awry, they find themselves serving time at the Wilkinson School for Boys, where they are repeatedly and sadistically violated and tortured by four guards--the most menacing being Noles, portrayed by Kevin Bacon. Fifteen years later, the foursome is still dealing with the emotional repercussions of their abuse. Tommy (Billy Crudup) and John (Ron Eldard) have become common criminals, and when they spot Noles in a local watering hole they can't pass up the chance for revenge. It's up to Shakes (Jason Patric), a low-profile newspaper employee, and Michael (Brad Pitt), a lawyer with the district attorney's office, to save their friends while keeping the details of their tortured childhoods secret. Dustin Hoffman appears as Danny Snyder, and Robert De Niro stars as Father Bobby, the local neighborhood priest who is as comfort...