A street-hardened kleptomaniac insinuates himself into the bosom of a clean-living Montana family with surprising results in writer-director Rebecca Painter's heartfelt third feature. To find his AWOL mother, 15-year-old drifter Jake (Danny Alexander) rides a freight train into a small Montana farming town, following the address in her last postcard, and heads to where he'll most likely find her the local bordello. But mom's long gone and Jake, stranded in the middle of nowhere, immediately takes advantage of the fact that in a town like this no one bothers to lock their car doors. He's caught trying to boost a car stereo by the car's owner, Tucker (Hunter Parrish), who, instead of calling the cops, buys the stranger a hamburger (much to the amusement of his friends) and then invites Jake home to his wholesome family. Once Tucker's dad (John Terry) hears Jake's story, he invites Jake to stay until he can decide what to do next, and even offers to help him get a job at the train yard where he works. Tucker's mother, Sarah (Cara Seymour), however, is wary; she knows a smooth-talking charmer when she sees one and doesn't entirely trust this precocious stranger who comes on like a latter-day Eddie Haskell and clearly has something to hide. In Jake's case, that something is his uncontrollable urge to steal, whether it's pilfering something as inconsequential as a hair comb or breaking into a stranger's house. By the age of 8, Jake had been charged with an astonishing 26 counts of grand theft. Tucker and Jake become fast friends Jake even helps Tucker act on his crush on pretty Lily Rose (Paz de la Huerta) and over time even Sarah warms up to him until she discovers Jake's torrid affair with her best friend and neighbor, Grace (Toby Poser). The central role in such an emotionally complex ensemble piece is a heavy burden for a 15-year-old actor to bear, and if Alexander's performance isn't exactly a revelation, he's modest enough to allow pros like Seymour, a gifted actress usually relegated to supporting roles, do their thing. The film's real star is the stunning Montana landscape, beautifully captured by cinematographer Paul Ryan, whose previous work as a second-unit DP includes such picturesque beauties as A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT (1992) and THE HORSE WHISPERER (1998).
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: NR
- Review: A street-hardened kleptomaniac insinuates himself into the bosom of a clean-living Montana family with surprising results in writer-director Rebecca Painter's heartfelt third feature. To find his AWOL mother, 15-year-old drifter Jake (Danny Alexander) ride… (more)