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United States of Leland

United States of Leland ★★ 2003 (R)

Lowkey high school student Leland (Gosling) senselessly stabs his exgirlfriend's autistic brother to death at the beginning of this bleak flick. Director Hoge then spends the rest of his debut film juggling the pieces attempting to define Leland's motivation. Was it his heroin-addicted girlfriend (Malone) who left him for her dealer? Or his emotionally absent novelist father, Albert (Spacey)? Or something else? Meanwhile, Pearl (Cheadle), an aspiring but struggling writer, is Leland's juvenile detention counselor who sees in him an opportunity for his first novel and the hidden agenda has its own consequences. While those encounters provide some lively scenes, and Spacey, Cheadle, and Malone give capable performances, there's no sustaining this disjointed piece. 108m/C DVD . US Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle, Chris Klein, Jena Malone, Lena Olin, Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams, Martin Donovan, Ann Magnuson, Kerry Washington, Sherilyn Fenn, Matt Malloy, Michael Pena, Ron Canada, Troy Winbush, Yolonda Ross, Jim Haynie, Kimberly Scott, Ryan Malgarini, Clyde Kusatsu, Sheeri Rappaport, Angela Paton, Michael Welch; D: Matthew Ryan Hoge; W: Matthew Ryan Hoge; C: James Glennon; M: Jeremy Enigk.

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