Stone starts with some intense emotional terrorism. This is how you show how seriously conflicted people can be. It’s not just hitting or yelling at each other. What young Jack Mabry does to his family is so sickening you feel anything could happen in this drama. I have not qualms with watching a tough, intense story. Just don’t wuss out on me. Make the characters really complex and manipulative, and let Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton play them.
After about an hour though, you realize that the opening scene isn’t setting anything up for later. This is just going to be one of those films that revels in despair and monotony, just another “bad things happen, people are miserable” pieces for actors who want to show how downbeat they can be.
More after the jump…