(out of 5)
Steve James follows his magnificent Hoop Dreams with this blistering documentary about his reunion with former friend Stephen Fielding, whom he met while mentoring him as a Big Brother years earlier. Catching up with Stevie, James now finds a young man who is in constant trouble with the law and has just recently been arrested for child molestation. Following a childhood of impressive emotional and physical abuse, Stevie has intense resentment for his mother, who might have abandoned him with his step-grandmother, and has complicated relationships with his mentally challenged girlfriend and his surprisingly well-adjusted sister. James’s directorial style sucks you into this dysfunctional mess that makes the Addams Family seem like the Bradys, holding Stevie fully responsible for his own behaviour but also making it quite clear how a person can go wrong when all the right opportunities are kept from them. The film describes situations that we couldn’t possibly ever get to the bottom of, and correctly avoids trying to unravel any of the mysteries it presents, instead allowing the (mesmerizing) circumstances to speak for themselves.
Directed by Steve James
Produced by Steve James, Adam Singer
Music by Dirk Powell
Film Editing by William Haugse, Steve James