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Sleepers February 24, 2007

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam) directs this 1996 drama based on his screenplay adapted from Lorenzo Carcaterra’s controversial novel of the same name (which he claims to be based on a true story but that is said to be doubtful). The cast which includes names like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Brad Pitt was one of the main reasons that I saw this one.

Four kids grow up in Hell’s Kitchen in New York. A simple prank goes wrong and nearly results in the death of a man. The boys are sent to the Wilkinson Home for Boys to serve their sentence. The guards at the facility sexually abuse the kids among other things. Traumatized throughout their stay, the boys’ lives are changed forever. Now, they are grown up and they want revenge. How they get their revenge is what the rest of the film is about.

Levinson gets the feel right and the screenplay is good. The initial parts of the film makes you feel for the pain of the boys. The movie does get into crowd pleaser mode after that and some might raise questions about morality (I won’t). Whatever be the case, this part of the film is gripping.

The film has pretty interesting characters too. Dustin Hoffman is a delight in the role of the bumbling lawyer. Robert De Niro is perfect as the priest. Kevin Bacon (Apollo 13, Mystic River) plays the main antagonist and he does a great job. Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, Grosse Pointe Blank) comes up with a likeable performance once again as a friend of the boys. Brad Pitt (who plays Michael), Jason Patric (who plays Shakes), Billy Crudup (who plays Tommy) and Ron Eldard (who plays John) play the grown-up versions of the boys.

This is an engrossing drama that I enjoyed very much. Though I saw it a few years back, I still remember it fondly. Worth watching.

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