BY JULIE STROM
Do not dismiss L.I.E. for its NC-17 rating or its subject matter of pedophilia in the suburbs of Long Island. If you do, you will be missing one of the most interesting and thought-provoking movies of the year.
Named for the road that connects New York City to the suburbs on Long Island, this movie uses the road itself as a literal and figurative representation of the danger and confusion of growing up. In his directorial debut, Michael Cuesta tells the story of 15-year old Howie, a teenager seemingly lost since the death of his mother. Howie’s father, Marty, is too busy with his own new girlfriend and trouble with the law to notice Howie’s confusion as he struggles to carve a niche for himself and come to terms with his blossoming sexuality. Howie’s best friend is Gary, beautifully played by Billy Kay, who sells sex for money and fills Howie with a combination of youthful desire and admiration. But when Gary too abandons Howie, he is left utterly alone, with only Big John, an ex-marine who has a penchant for young boys.
Big John, like the movie itself, cannot be dismissed as a stereotype or a typical villain. Played with amazing sensitivity by Brian Cox, John