Three lives. Buffalo detective Lt. Cristofuoro, whose catatonic wife is in hospital, takes a special interest in Eric Komenko, a juvenile who killed his parents and will be freed on his 18th birthday. So does Lori Cranston, 15 or 16, her body fully developed and the object of lust by her boss and her mother’s new boyfriend. She keeps a scrapbook about Eric, and when he’s released from custody, she hides in the backseat of his car, insisting he take her with him on a trip toward Albany where he’s planning to meet a girl. Cristofuoro is certain Eric will kill again, so he follows. It’s clear early on that Cristofuoro’s probably right, but what’s Lori’s motivation?
User Reviews: Despite having an interesting premise, Aussie director John Polsner (Swimfan, Hide and Seek) and screenwriter Emil Stern’s adaptation of Robert Cormier’s novel never seems to gain traction and generally fails to rise above its choppy editing and individual sets and sequences. Eric Poole (Jon Foster) is released from juvenile detention despite being convicted of the brutal murder of his parents. Eric must find a way to reconcile his past and cope with his present while Russell Crowe plays the semi-retired detective that brought him to justice in the past and is determined to keep close tabs on his future. Sophie Traub’s Lori is an awkward teenager who has been obsessed with Eric since the murders and desperately pursues interaction between them at all costs.
It’s a shame that potential character studies of these three individuals never fully materializes on screen nor does it mesh with the attempts at suspense and action. The biggest flaw is that the narrative is driven from the point of view of Crowe’s detective character who also happens to have smallest of the three roles. Crowe’s performance seems flat and perfunctory with no real character arc other than a slow chase of Eric and Lori and a subplot of a hospital-ridden wife that goes nowhere. Foster’s Eric had the most potential but he never seems to bring more than a surface level amount of emotion and delivery to his scenes. The only standout is Traub who is able to balance her character’s youthful recklessness and yet still retain some soulful insights.
This film is deliberately paced and a lot of scenes that were meant to provide emotional heft either do not resonate or are not fully played out which may be why the score is often raised several decibels. Characters share deeply personal details and yet suddenly we are on to another scene. Laura Dern who plays Eric’s spiritual aunt is largely wasted. Would recommend only to individuals that are avid followers of the actors involved.