Another esoterically engrossing dark portrait of troubled suburban youth, "L.I.E." is part of an emerging indie genre that strives to reveal an ugly underbelly to growing up middle-class in America.
Larry Clark is the director seemingly setting the pace for this trend with 1995's disturbing "Kids" and this year's fact-based "Bully," about a group of Florida teens who brutally murdered the scuzzy leader of their pack. But Michael Cuesta adds a solid, if mismanaged, entry with "L.I.E.," the story of a morally and sexually conflicted 15-year-old delinquent (Paul Franklin Dano) left in an adolescent limbo by his mother's recent death in a car crash along the Long Island Expressway (thus the title) that runs near his house.
His father (Bruce Altman) -- a well-off and quite crooked contractor under investigation by the FBI -- makes only minimal and insincere efforts to show interest in the boy's life. Pop is more interested in sleeping with his plaything girlfriend, who moved in while mom's side of the bed was still warm, and exploiting his would-be grief ("Don't you know about my wife?!" he scolds an insistent investigator).
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