Scott Eastwood Rita Wilson Kim Matula Chris Brochu Julie Carmen Jeff Fahey
This film directed by Daniel Petrie, Jr., is disturbing in its portrayal of a bigoted, minimally educated family. The parents have not conveyed a hint of moral grounding to their two boys, John and Ben, whose lives center mostly around surfing, drugs, parties, and alcohol. (The parents also participate in the last three categories.) John (Scott Eastwood) does seem to have a better sense of social responsibility, but he doesn’t have a chance having the parents he has. I do sympathize with them that in the midst of the recession, their jobs are at stake and they are in danger of losing their house. But, unfortunately, they’re living right next to Latinos, and fuel the fire of hatred, rather than attempt to negotiate a better life for their kids. They buy into the myth that the Latinos are beneath them and don’t deserve what they have.
When the favorite of the two sons—Ben—is killed, the parents in their drunken state urge John “to do what’s right”—and not in a good sense. John finally succumbs, but it does not turn out well, and John joins the military to avoid being apprehended by the law. Not surprisingly, he ends up with PTSD.
The script by Rachel Long and Brian Pittman of Dawn Patrol is truly irredeemable. I see no purpose in showing attitudes that will only serve to reinforce the same attitudes in our society and prolong the antagonism among groups that many of us strive to overcome.
Another negative aspect of the script is in its portrayal of women, who are shown to be spineless, capricious, seductive without loyalty or purpose, hateful, and emasculating.
The only possible redeeming quality of this film to me is the ending, where there is some accountability for bad behavior, and the plan for revenge at least has some thought behind it. This resolution does show some creativity. At last.
Grade: D By Donna R. Copeland