The 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)