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08 July 2011

This Boys' Life (1994)

Directed by: Michael-Caton Jones
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 114 Minutes

With terrific drama based on a true story, This Boy’s Life boasts heavy emotion and a terrific story. With Robert DeNiro, film star legend on board, the film is topped off with grand acting. Starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio I must say I am very impressed with his performance and it’s clear to see how he has become renown today. Never have I seen a child star put so much effort into a role, but not only that, the role was extremely believable and his character had so much emotional depth it was terrific. The story is amazing and the transformation of the two characters, young Toby and single mother Caroline Wolfe who go on a journey to seek family life, but along the way it isn’t as sweet as they expected.

Caroline Wolf, single mother and her son Toby –who likes to be called Jack at some stage-, hit the road in search for a new family life. After moving twice, they hit a spot to stay in as she meets the respectable and respectful Dwight, a man who at first seems a nice guy, soon unravels as a mean, controlling and bad tempered man. Thinking she’s got it all, she plans on marrying Dwight, but Toby does not like this idea. Pretty soon he starts to like Dwight until Toby has to life with him at Concrete for a few months. On his stay the true Dwight is unravelled as a control freak, a bully and just a plain ‘asshole’. Through verbal and physical abuse he tries to turn teenage slightly rebellious Toby (at this stage in his life he changes a little) into a so called good kid. He thinks his intentions are good, but in reality what he does is off the scale. The sad thing is, this is based of a true story of Tobias Wolf form a memoir book of the same name. It’s an intense and powerful story and at the end your glad he makes it out of Concrete.

I really must say I haven’t seen many films with Robert De Niro in them, but his performance was excellence and I am aware of his gangster film ego. His performance was strong, terrifying and just plain mean. Sure you have the fictional side bad guys like Freddy Kruger, Jason and all those other horror/thriller film bad guys, but here we have a character based on a true story and the kind of things that happen in this film do happen. Lest we forget young Leonardo DiCaprio’s warm and exciting performance as Toby Wolf, and might I add he is absolutely excellent. 

Toby's mother, Caroline played by Ellen Barkin was also refreshingly wonderful. Another one of the characters I really love is the friend Toby makes, the homosexual Arthur Gale that he meets during his stay with Dwight at concrete.  It is the 1950’s and here we have a person who is considered different by the majority. What is great is he is a character you can understand and you really can feel for him. Being stuck in a intolerant town and having no one to relate to, until Toby comes along and they make a great friendship.
Toby and Dwight in a picture of them in scout outfits.
Overview:
Another thing I loved is how the town was called Concrete. And that is exactly what De Niro’s character Dwight is like, solid, cold and hard. Well my words probably seem like I should have rated the film higher, but as much as it’s a moving, touching and powerful drama there is only so far it goes. Towards the end of the film you really want Toby and his mother to escape, and naturally there is a happy ending. The light at the end of the tunnel if you will, and once they escape you feel this warm sense of happiness for the characters, until a few minutes later you realise it is only a film. But this is a true story so that feeling can remain with you. Overall This Boy’s Life is a wonderful drama full of grand acting, great characters and a story enough to keep you on your seat.

My Rating: 8.5/10

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how much I would like this, but it would be cool to see Leo at such a young age.

    ReplyDelete

 

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