For 14-year old Walter, his crazy uncles’ farm in rural Texas is the last place
on earth he wants to spend the summer. Left by his unfit mother, Mae, in the
middle of nowhere with two crazy old men and the promise that she’ll come back
for him, Walter doesn’t know what to believe in. Eccentric and gruff, Hub and
Garth McCaan are rumored to have been bank robbers, mafia hit men and/or war
criminals in their younger days. The truth is elusive, although they do seem to
have an endless supply of cash. But Walter begins to see a new side to his great
uncles when he stumbles on an old photograph of a beautiful woman hidden away in
a trunk and asks Garth who she is.
A couple of worldly heroes, who become victims of old age, find new life
when their 14-year old nephew is dumped off for the summer by his unfit
mother. The most impressive thing about Haley Joel Osment is his ability to
act without the use of words and elaborate actions. His ability to get into
character through simple movements and facial expressions continues to
impress me with every ensuing project in which he is involved. Haley's
portrayal of Walter gives the character an increased sense of vulnerability
without taking away his youthful enthusiasm.
More impressive are the performances by Michael Caine and Robert Duvall.
Their intensely moving portrayal of brothers really keeps this movie
together all the way through. First, they are incredibly convincing as
brothers and secondly Michael Caine's narration of the brothers mysterious
and dangerous past is absolutely riveting.
The nicest thing about this movie is that it didn't include too many
inconsequential elements and scenes. Many movies which rely on flashbacks
and storytelling do a horrible job of keeping focus on the character's
struggles in the present day. The flashbacks do an excellent job of
explaining the eccentric nature of the brothers while giving them a little
bit of edge. Believe it or not, Robert Duvall and Michael Caine are well
past their youthful prime, but the flashbacks help the characters maintain
an essence/aura of youthfulness throughout the movie.
Many simple subplots (purchasing a lion / airplane) do an exceptional job
of keeping the movies storyline light and fresh. Although the movie focuses
on a young boys struggles to find an identity on the way to becoming a man
and the inability of two stalwart men to accept their age, the producers do
a good job of conveying the importance of living life to the fullest extent.
Although younger audiences won't find high-powered action scenes to feed
their attention-deficit-disorder (ADD), many middle aged/older audiences and
families will find this movie to be a diamond in the rough. A solid
ending, magnificent acting, and riveting flashbacks help this comdey/drama
tell a wonderful story and create a positive box-office experience.
See this movie if you're a fan of:
Haley Joel Osment (Actor, Pay it Forward, Sixth Sense, A.I.)
Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)
Your grandfather telling you war stories
Michael Caine (Actor, Quills, Cider House Rules)