Like a thought-provoking Spike Lee social commentary without all the hip pretense, "George Washington" is a startlingly authentic portrait of apathy, futility and discontented boredom ingrained upon a group of poverty-stricken kids in the rural South.

This vérité-style festival buzz pic centers around best friends Buddy (Curtis Cotton III), a contemplative 13-year-old nursing a broken heart, and George (Donald Holden), an ambitious boy with a bone ailment that has left his skull so soft he wears a old football helmet (with a broken facemask) everywhere he goes to protect him from unexpected blows that could kill him.

These two, and a handful of pals, spend their days escaping turbulent home lives (George's dog is deliberately killed by his unemployed drunk of an uncle) by wandering aimlessly around their dilapidated ex-industrial town of boarded-up store fronts, abandoned water parks and shattered souls. Quite literally they have nothing else to do, and the movie resonates with the kids' malaise without falling victim to it.

Continue reading: George Washington Review