L.I.E.:Film offers brutal dose of honesty
By Brandon Mazzei
Highlighting issues of sexual identity among teens, as well as social deviance and pedophilia, L.I.E. paints a mesmerizing portrait of the troubled life of a directionless young man as he struggles to find his way in a world that lacks adequate role models. Viewers will have a hard time directing their attention away from the screen, as the movie is loaded with many surprising elements that provide us with a stark image of reality, no matter how disheartening it may be.
The letters L.I.E., represent the Long Island Expressway, a miniature character in the film, as it is responsible for taking the life of a mother whose son’s life is consequently ravaged as a result of her untimely demise. Thrust into a world in which his father is more interested in pursuing sexual endeavors with his new girlfriend than he is in raising his son, Howie Blitzer (played by Paul Franklin Dano) must learn to readjust to life in which he is offered little guidance. While growing up and dealing with puberty are two uncomfortable issues for most teens, Howie is faced with the daunting task of going through the motions on his own.
It is when Howie begins experiencing homosexual urges and tendencies that the film truly takes an interesting turn, as one is left to wonder how a 15- year-old boy can cope with such complex issues without the support of a traditional family.
If the lack of a functional family wasn’t bad enough, Howie’s problems persist as his relationship with his friends takes an interesting turn when they decide to burglarize a home which one of them is familiar with. When the man whose house was broken into gets a hold of Howie, the two forge an unlikely bond. Coupling Howie’s loneliness with Big John Harrigan’s (played by Brian Cox) pedophile tendencies, the two are a somewhat odd, yet legitimate pairing.
Howie is able to find solace in his newfound mentor, who attempts to help Howie sort out many of the uncertainties that he is facing. By displaying a sense of love and dedication to the young boy, Harrigan is able to earn Howie’s friendship. Despite the fact that Harrigan is a child molester, Howie is in desperate need of a father figure, so he has no choice but to forge an interesting bond with a man who is interested in perpetrating criminally sexual acts on him.
The film is subtle in its approach, never allowing its complex characters to be watered down to fit a specific societal role, so it is up to the viewer to decide who is at fault for the bizarre situation at hand. One of the more important, reoccurring themes of the the film, is that innocence is lost far too quickly, especially among those forced to deal with the complexities of the world around them at such a vulnerable age. While most other 15- year-old suburban boys are concerned with video games and sports, Howie finds himself looking deeper towards a sense of self. When he is shown little regard by those closest to him, he is left susceptible to finding comfort in the form of an older man, who seems to be the only one interested in offering Howie some sense of guidance.
This movie is an incredible example of how one tragic event, specifically the death of a parent, can send a child’s world into a tailspin that they may find extremely difficult to pull themselves out of. L.I.E. is a powerful film, one that blurs the lines between black and white revealing a much more disturbing shade of grey. Despite its NC-17 rating, L.I.E. is a film that stands to benefit the viewer regardless of their age. Along with a thrilling plot, L.I.E. boasts some incredible performances from a few relatively unknown actors that will leave viewers shocked at the level of realism achieved.
A thought provoking film, L.I.E. succeeds in both entertaining its audience, as well as exposing some of the evils that lurk beneath the surface of any seemingly normal town. This film is a must see for audiences both young and old, as its ability to address the flaws of its characters without exploiting them mimics the manner in which most real life situations unfold. Oftentimes resembling a documentary more so than a fictional piece, L.I.E. is a powerful film that is necessary in understanding how suburban America can truly be hell on earth for some.Explore posts in the same categories: News