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An American Crime (2007)

Director:
Tommy O'Haver
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Action/Thriller
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Eagle Eye
RUNNING TIME
118 minutes
Producer:
Christine Vachon
Jocelyn Hayes
Henry Winterstern
Kevin Turen
Hans C. Ritter
Screenwriter:
Tommy O'Haver
Irene Turner


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Sylvia Likens Ellen Page
Gertrude Baniszewski Catherine Keener
Jennie Likens Hayley McFarland
Paula Baniszewski Ari Graynor
Stephanie Baniszewski Scout Taylor-Compton
Lester Likens Nick Searcy
Betty Likens Romy Rosemont
Bradley Brian Geraghty
Teddy Lewis Michael Welch
Ricky Hobbs Evan Peters
Andy Gordon James Franco

 

Review

This well-made reenactment of the infamous Sylvia Likens case, in which a 16 year old girl was tortured to death by the woman and children with whom she boarded, is well-meaning and ostensibly biasless, but writer/director Tommy O'Haver and the talented Catherine Keener as Gertie, the woman behind the crime, cannot quite make us feel and believe the level of horror this poor girl went through - and I don't blame them one bit for it. We're supposed to be made able to understand Gertie, but in fairness I'm not sure this is something anybody actually can or is willing to do, and as such the film comes off as a little bit forced and glossed (crazy as that may sound). This also includes an unnecessary segment towards the end that has got Hollywood written all over it.  The film is still worth a watch though, because Sylvia Likens' story deserves to be heard, among other things as a warning about the potential dangers of brain-washing and mass-suggestion. And there's fine acting by an ensemble of young performers.

Copyright 13.1.2014 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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