Following up on Streetwise, his powerful documentary on the homeless kids of Seattle, director Martin Bell returned to that city for a dramatic feature. Nick Kelson (Edward Furlong) is a troubled teenager whose mother has been dead for many years; he spends much of his time with other throwaway kids roaming the city. When Nick's father Jack (Jeff Bridges) is released from a long stretch in prison, the father and child reunion is a bumpy one. Jack senses an obligation to his son but is trying to focus on taking responsibility for his own life before he can extend himself. Nick is wary of his father's criminal background, but he also craves the stability of a real home life. Aware that a return to the city whose mean streets spawned his criminal career might pull him back into his old ways, Jack talks about moving to Alaska to make a fresh start, but it's not clear if Nick is part of his plan. The film's unsentimental look at its characters always on the verge of backsliding didn't endear it to ticket buyers, but it was lauded by many critics for its honesty and for Bridges' strong performance, which won an Independent Spirit award. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi
A very powerful, honest, un-sentimentalized look at a hardend ex-con trying to build a life with his 12 year old son. Jeff Bridges gives a towering performance, subtle, real, quiet, angry, scary, withdrawn and heartbreaking. The film around him often matches the super high level of his work, although, and some of the sub plots involving Edward Furlong as the son feel a bit more obvious and schematic than the grown-up world sections of the film. None-the-less, a powerful, honest look at how hard making it once youâre down really is. Its very frustrating that this is only available on DVD in 4:3. The film deserves better treatment.