The United States of Leland | Chicago Reader

The United States of Leland

Ryan Gosling (The Believer) plays Leland, a kind of sub-Donnie Darko who murders his ex-girlfriend's autistic brother; in custody he prompts a tug-of-war between his psychologist (Don Cheadle) and his ice-cold absentee father (Kevin Spacey), both writers hoping to turn the tragedy into a best seller. As the TV cameras swarm, Leland declares, “I know what they want from me—they want a reason, something they can tie up with a nice bow and bury in the backyard.” Writer-director Matthew Ryan Hoge refuses to supply one, which may explain why this 2003 indie drama has been sitting on the shelf since last year. Another reason may be the characters' undiluted self-interest, which will seem one-dimensional to all but the worst cynics. R, 108 min.

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