Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1996. Astoria Films, Baltimore Pictures, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Propaganda Films, Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Barry Levinson, based on the book by Lorenzo Carcaterra. Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus. Produced by Steve Golin, Barry Levinson. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Kristi Zea. Costume Design by Gloria Gresham. Film Editing by Stu Linder. Academy Awards 1996.
Four young boys go to juvenile detention for a street prank that gets way out of hand, then suffer through years of sexual abuse from their prison’s supervisor (played with unflinching menace by Kevin Bacon). After being released, they grow up and go their separate ways, two of them becoming criminals, another becoming a lawyer, and the fourth not knowing exactly what he should do with his life. When one of them runs into Bacon and takes merciless revenge on him, it’s up to the lawyer (Brad Pitt) to defend his old friend for murder in a case that involves a personal history of his own that he would rather not deal with. Barry Levinson’s direction is absolutely superb, one of the most devastating and engrossing films he has ever made. He also benefits from having put together a fantastic ensemble cast and, while it is not an easy story to take, as it deals with very emotionally painful subject matter, it’s a rewarding and worthwhile film.