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January 01, 2009

The United States Of Leland

United States of Leland Violent revenge, apathy, rejection and opportunism are the cultural conditions shrewdly explored in “The United States Of Leland” by debut writer/director Matthew Ryan Hoge. Leland P. Fitzgerald (Ryan Gosling – “The Believer”) is the emotionally damaged son of Albert T. Fitzgerald (Kevin Spacey), a successful and cruel expatriate novelist who hasn’t seen his son in 7 years. The story begins after Leland has publicly murdered the retarded brother of his ex-girlfriend Becky (Jena Malone), and relies heavily on Leland’s voice-over narration as he is incarcerated and becomes the subject of juvenile hall counselor/novelist Pearl Madison (Don Cheadle), who hopes to exploit the encounter in a book. Wildly misunderstood by critics, “The United States Of Leland” deftly points out dilemmas in current American ideology that frequently escalate into tragedy.
Rated R. 108 mins. (B-) (Three Stars)

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