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L.I.E. [2002] [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Brian Cox, Paul Dano, Bruce Altman, Billy Kay, James Costa
  • Directors: Michael Cuesta
  • Writers: Michael Cuesta, Gerald Cuesta, Stephen M. Ryder
  • Producers: Michael Cuesta, Jose Gilberto Molinari-Rosaly, Linda Moran, Rene Bastian
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 28 April 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008OP6X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,025 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Fifteen-year-old Howie (Paul Franklin Dano), is a young New Jersey native whose life falls apart around him; his mother died in a car accident several years before and his father has fallen apart. When Howie gets into bad company with Gary (Billy Kay) and is persuaded to join him in a burglary, he finds himself in a situation he is not too comfortable with; the home they burgled is that of former marine Big John (Brian Cox) who once used Gary as a male prostitute and now has a taste for teenage boys. In fact Big John makes a proposition to Howie: pay off his debt by having sex with him. Despite Howie feeling uncomfortable with the situation, Big John comes to realise just how much emotional help Howie needs.

From Amazon.co.uk

L.I.E. features quietly electrifying performances from newcomer Paul Franklin Dano and criminally underrated veteran Brian Cox (best known on the big screen as the original Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter), as a neglected teenager and his paedophile acquaintance respectively.

Fifteen-year-old Howie derives no support from the inept parenting of his widower father and instead seeks solace and companionship firstly with a group of delinquent burglar friends and subsequently with the former marine Big John, whose complex makeup--part father-figure, part Fagin, part Svengali, part abuser--leads Howie into an ambivalent relationship in which there are no easy answers or straightforward notions of right and wrong. The premise of the movie is thrown into sharp relief by the cosy New Jersey setting, all neatly-manicured lawns and cool interiors. Indeed, the most striking images in the film are the burglary scenes, in which Howie's furtive, awkward presence in the sterile blandness of his victims' uncluttered homes forms a double-edged metaphor for both the security and the anodyne mediocrity of the society from which he feels so alienated. --Roger Thomas

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Originally I was drawn to the DVD by its title, 'L.I.E.' While director Michael Cuesta uses the Long Island Expressway as a metaphor, 'L.I.E.' also symbolises the way in which everyday people hide the truth from those closest to them, and the lies we deceive ourselves with. Without beating the viewer over the head with morality, Cuesta aims his cameras unflinchingly at the characters, never shying away from truth or brutal reality.

Howie is a sensitive fifteen year old, prone to poetry and schoolboy crushes, like the one he has on his friend Gary, a morally bankrupt male prostitute. Because of his unrequited feelings, Howie is drawn into a life of petty crime, anything to be near Gary. When a particular burglary turns sour and Howie is eventually tracked down by the homes owner; a pedophile played with excellent depth by Brian Cox, the film begins its downward spiral into emotional territory rarely experienced on film. With brilliant clarity, Michael Cuesta has filmed one of the most richly told tales I've ever had the pleasure to view.

Not for the squeamish, if sexuality is a trigger for you, 'L.I.E.' is brutally honest filmmaking at its best. Highly recommended...
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This must strike a chord with any gay man who remembers what it was like growing up in a hostile world, or indeed anyone who lacked the love of a father. Very touching film and tastefully portrayed for a sensitive subject. The character played by Cox is not demonised as one might expect from a cliched movie, but shows both sides of a human being. We can empathise with the older man despite his obvious failings. The film is well-scripted and the actor playing the boy is superb. It shouldn't be rated restricted - a 15 rating would do but the world is hardly ready for a debate on the topics raised in this very thought-provoking film.
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Format: DVD
The Amazon synopsis is fairly comprehensive, and no more need be said about the plot of this film. As to its quality, `L.I.E.' has two main strengths: first, the acting, and second, the portrayal of `Big John'. Regarding the former, the talent of the actors is faultless. Brian Cox (Big John) gives a highly sensitive and credible performance as the pseudo-father figure to Howie. Paul Franklin Dano (Howie) is due particular praise (since it was his debut feature film) for giving life to the character of Howie. And Billy Kay (Gary) is not only stunning and breathtakingly sensual, but has an incredible magnetism and presence.

As to the second strength, it is very refreshing to actually see a man whose sexual inclinations include pederasty being portrayed as a complex character - with his sexual life being just one part of what comprises his personality - as opposed to the stereotypical bogeyman which filmmakers apparently feel obliged to portray.

However, beyond these positive aspects, there is little of value to be gained from watching this film. Whilst I certainly enjoyed it, and may - perhaps - watch it a second time, it lacks sufficient emotional depth. What depth there was existed primarily between the two teenagers, Howie and Gary, and that evaporates when, disappointingly, Gary exits less than halfway into the film. Where is the intensity? What is there to draw the viewer in and burrow itself into their psyche? Whilst the film is to be commended for it's portrayal of Big John, there is definitely nothing `provocative' or `haunting' about it - descriptions that are robotically bandied about, given its subject matter. Indeed, there is absolutely nothing to warrant the 18 certificate that the censors thought fit to proscribe - no nudity, violence or sex.
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Format: DVD
“I needed to make a movie that stayed with people emotionally and psychologically” says L.I.E. director Michael Cuesta. The result, his debut, bears all the hallmarks of a quietly assured, minor modern classic. As Brian Cox, who plays L.I.E’s big-hearted pederast ‘Big John’ Harrigan, says, “It’s old-fashioned in many ways, a film that takes its time and doesn’t suffer from MTV jump-cutting”.
L.I.E stands for Long Island Expressway, a commuter-crowded freeway running like a knife slash through an affluent New York suburb; for Cuesta “a metaphor for a kid who’s about to be sent into the scary world of adulthood regardless of whether he’s ready or not”. A hazardous route then which, we learn, has already killed ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, All the President’s Men director Alan J Pakula – and the mother of L.I.E.’s 15-year-old Howie (a remarkable performance of put-on adolescent toughness, vulnerability and knowing from Paul Franklin Dano). The ‘lie’ of the title symbolising the myth of cosy suburbia but more pertinently, the casual or far-reaching deceits L.I.E.’s guilt-edged cast of slack-jawed wide boys, footloose rent boys, corrupt white-collar contractors and “always ashamed” Chicken Hawks will visit on themselves and one another, emotionally hobbled, or shot-through with grief, every one.
If L.I.E initially drew comparisons with the work of Harmony Korine, Larry Clark – and Todd Solondz in particular, Cuesta’s film contains a warmth and delicacy often lacking from these fellow chroniclers of suburban juvenile woe.
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