There are some minor SPOILERS in this review...so if you want to check out this rather recent film, read on with caution!
Director: David Schwimmer
Starring: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato
A powerful and disturbing picture about a young teenage girl who talks to a guy she met online and finds out eventually, when they meet in person at a mall, that he's about 35 or so. He coerces her into having sex with him, and when everyone finds out, a media scandal and FBI case ensue. At first the girl really likes the guy still, and wants him back, even despite the alarm and shock of everyone around her at the situation. The film shows the decline and breaking apart of the family as the father (Clive Owens) becomes more and more obsessed with finding the rapist and bringing him to justice in his own way. I'm pretty sure this was based off a true story, and so I'm glad there wasn't much Hollywood-style glamorization. Owens never actually goes and catches the guy, and his attempts are realistically in vain, brought down by his own very human limitations. Like there’s one scene where he goes and thinks about buying a gun – his fatherly protectiveness is very real, very clear, and it blinds him to the more sensible ways to act. In another scene, he attacks a guy at one of Annie’s basketball games when he sees him taking pictures. These are rash, impetuous, human things to do, and it’s interesting to see the movie bring them out.
The acting here is very good (props to newcomer Liana Liberato for an excellent performance!), and the scenes are incredibly disturbing in their stark nature. Some of the ones in the beginning when the girl meets up with her online 'friend' are just spine-tingling uncomfortable – hell, all of those scenes are. The final scene with her and her dad outside is quite good for the exact opposite reason – it is honest, emotional and full of nostalgia and love. The film doesn’t have a big Hollywood ending where the killer gets caught, and that added a lot to the film, making it all the more hard-hitting and captivating as the audience is hit with the realization that this is real life, that these things happen sometimes, and all you can do is pick yourself up and move on. Overall I enjoyed this, and found it relevant and meaningful - a depiction of the darker side of our cybernetic revolution. I wasn't sure how to rate it at first, but frankly, this has not left my head since I finished it, and so I have no choice but to recommend it very highly to anyone who wants a realistic, harsh, emotional journey through a very sensitive situation. This will be remembered.