by J.R. Jones
Robert De Niro is a weary parole officer at a Michigan prison, Edward Norton is the jive-ass inmate trying to win a release, and Milla Jovovich is the jailbird’s kind-of-slutty, kind-of-nutty wife, who keeps coming on to the corrections worker after hours. So many talented people were involved in this modest drama—John Curran directed the biting We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004), and Angus MacLachlan scripted the lovely Junebug (2005)—that I feel as if I should like it more. De Niro and Norton keep each other on their game (the latter is particularly good, his laughable wigger character gradually becoming someone serious and unfathomable), and Frances Conroy is solid as the parole officer’s partner in a long-dead marriage. But you can feel the movie’s gears grinding throughout, first in the rote suspense mechanics and later in the ham-fisted religiosity (conveyed through an endless soundtrack of evangelistic talk radio).
Stone screens October 7 as the opening-night program of the Chicago International Film Festival, with Norton in person; a commercial run follows two weeks later.