After seemingly ordinary 15 year-old Leland (Ryan Gosling) stuns his quiet suburban community with a chilling crime, he is sent to juvenile hall where he meets Pearl (Don Cheadle), a teacher and aspiring writer who dreams of making Leland's compelling story into a book. As Pearl digs deeper into Leland's life and the people caught up in it - his mother (Lena Olin), his famous writer-father (Kevin Spacey), and his troubled girlfriend (Jena Malone) - he uncovers Leland's disturbing motive. The tables soon turn when the teenager forces Pearl to examine his own morally questionable behavior.
Dull, forced and unoriginal.
- The United States of Leland review by Shatner's Bassoon
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You rated this film: 1
After brutally stabbing to death the mentally retarded younger brother of his ex-girlfriend, sixteen year old Leland P. Fitzgerald is quickly arrested and sent to a young offender’s detention center while he awaits trial. No one can explain Leyland’s actions and whether the act was premeditated or spontaneous, done out of pure evil or some form of violent mental breakdown; this includes Leland himself who claims he cannot remember the details of the killing. While incarcerated, Leland is forced to attend lessons where his teacher Pearl Madison, an unsuccessful writer, sees Leland's case as an opportunity to write a book, but as Pearl tries to understand Leland's motivation he grows close to him as a friend and confidante. The storyline jumps from past to present showing how Leland's crime and the events leading up to it has effected affected both the people surrounding his life and the child he murdered. I was really looking forward to this film but found little more than endless scenes of banal dialogue in which an unemotional Leyland emits fortune-cookie quality nuggets of wisdom, which is interpreted by everyone around him as deeply profound and intelligent. And while the recognisable cast on the whole were good, the storyline was cliché ridden and formula driven. There are many scenes in which you get the feeling the story had been repeatedly tweaked just to make it a little more edgy and tragic, the result giving a really unnatural feeling to the film. This is the kind of tale many understated indie movies manage to do effortlessly, but which ‘The United States of Leland’ with its known name cast and studio backing over complicates and ultimately messes up. Personally I would give this a miss and as an alternative would recommend, ‘Mean Creek’ or ‘The Chumscrubber’.
Try Hard Donnie Darko
- The United States of Leland review by 'Dawn & Michael'
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You rated this film: 2
The review is in the title. Sadley although an enjoyable film it lack originality and it felt like i was watching a second rate Donne Darko, even the similarity between the lead actor could not be missed, if you want to pass a coulple of hours of your life then watch this, otherwise, you could always watch a Stephen Segal film. Or Maybe your kitchen floor deserves a treat.