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The Good Son (1993)

Director:
Joseph Ruben
COUNTRY
USA
Genre
Thriller/Horror
NORWEGIAN TITLE
The Good Son
RUNNING TIME
87 minutes
Producer:
Mary Ann Page
Joseph Ruben
Screenwriter:
Ian McEwan


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Henry Macaulay Culkin
Mark Elijah Wood
Susan Wendy Crewson
Jack David Morse
Wallace Daniel Hugh Kelly
Connie Quinn Culkin

 

Review

Messy, unsubtle and psychologically uneven thriller about bad seed Culkin who terrorizes his family with more or less evil antics, and then tries to recruit cousin Wood to his team. There are many problems associated with this film, but director Ruben's sense of suspense is not one of them. Viewed in isolation, there are a handful good, playful and harrowing bits and pieces in The Good Son, and one of them is the chilling finale. That scene has many aspects to it, and it has both emotional and thematic depth. But at the same time, it cannot hide from the context in which it is presented. Because the script (by Ian McEwan, but allegedly mutilated by the Culkin family) is far too showy and self-conscious while at the same time lacking the insight it desperately needs in order to be able to present Henry as anything resembling a real child. Elijah Wood's authenticity and natural appearance in front of the camera easily exceeds Culkin's desperate and immature attempt at playing a psychopath, and it is Wood who gives the film most of its dramatic value. The film is enjoyable from time to time, but this requires that the viewer doesn't ask too many questions.

Re-reviewed: Copyright 13.6.2007 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original Review:
Copyright 14.4.1996 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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