By Cory Peynado, Blockbuster.co.uk
“You ever have that dream: the one where you did something... You don't know why, but you can never go back?”
Nick Cassavetes gives us an express tour of the true-life events that took place in 2000 in California involving the kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz. Some events have been fictionalised of course and there are some name changes but the plot follows the true period of the kidnapping. It will be the kind of movie that you can enjoy and learn from… but don’t get worried, you’ll mostly just enjoy it.
Switching frequently from documentary style directing to the traditional, you’ll easily get a feel of what the characters might have actually gone through at the time. The actors portray the young gangster attitude that seems to reign through the typical urban streets accurately and we really do have some top of the line talent on display.
Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) is the character that draws most of our attention here as he is predominantly the leader of the group. Johnny manages to get himself involved in pretty much everything he shouldn’t be involved in as a young guy and currently his main income comes from drug dealing. Jake (Ben Foster) is one of the unlucky souls that owes Johnny money but does not have the spondulees to pay him back… this is where the trouble begins.
Johnny, along with his ‘gloves off’ handyman Frankie Ballenbacher
decides to take things to the next level by abducting Jake’s younger brother, Zack (Anton Yelchin) He does this to force Jake out of hiding and to get back every penny he is owed but when Jake doesn’t surface and the pressure starts to mount up Johnny is merely left with a hostage that everybody is looking for.
Bruce Willis also has a great impact as Johnny father, Sonny. Though he never listens to his dad Sonny at least makes an effort to get through to him. Surprisingly enough though the stand out performance comes from Timberlake. The cold nature and gritty urban attitude is carried off perfectly throughout his time on screen giving us a real feeling of authenticity.
These are the type of attributes that make a film easy to recommend. You’ll enjoy the documentary style footage if you have an interest in the event itself but you if your just looking for some hard-nosed entertainment then this succeeds as well and for Timberlake fans this movie will be as essential as one of his albums. Well worth a watch.