GREEN'S SOMETIMES FRIENDS AREN'T SO FRIENDLY REVIEW:
Finn Earl (Anton Yelchin) is excited about going to spend the summer with his anthropologist father in South America, studying a native tribe. But when he gets arrested trying to buy drugs for his strung out mother Liz (Diane Lane) his summer plans change. Instead the Finns go for the summer to live at the Osborne estate, where patriarch Ogden (Donalt Sutherland) is one of Liz's former massage clients. It is here that Finn gets seduced by the sexy maid Jilly (Paz De La Huerta) but falls in love with Maya (Kristen Stewart), Ogden's granddaughter and befriends Bryce (Chris Evans), Ogden's grandson. Things seem to be going well until Finn learns that friendship between the rich and the not-so-rich can happen, as long as the status quo is maintained.
This is a film that kicked around the minor film festivals for two years before gaining wide release in the US in 2007, so it wouldn't surprise me if you've never heard of it. Neither had I. I borrowed it from the library solely based on the fact that Diane Lane is in this movie. I've been a fan of hers for a long time and still think she's an underrated actress. Having old timer Donald Sutherland as your co-star doesn't hurt either. They've got a pretty nifty supporting cast including rising stars Anton Yelchin and Kristen Stewart, who were probably around 13 or 14 when this movie was filmed in 2004.
I like the fact that the screenplay was adapted by the author of the novel, which as I always say makes for a stronger movie. I've not read the novel that the film is based on but one of the DVD extras indicates that the screenplay doesn't stray very far from the novel. Veteran character actor turned director Griffin Dunne does a good job keeping the story moving along. There are only a few spots where the film sags but they don't last long. The only really unnecessary scenes are where visions of the South American native tribe that Finn's father is studying appear on the Osborne estate, as if we can't draw the parallel connections from the film itself.
The "Breaking Down the Tribe" featurette has some informative cast interviews.
Fierce People is worth your time to watch. I enjoyed this movie.
***½ out of *****
Fierce People (2005, R, 112 minutes), starring Donald Sutherland, Diane Lane, Anton Yelchin, Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Perkins, Paz De La Huerta and Chris Evans. Based on the novel by Dirk Wittenborn. Screenplay by Dirk Wittenborn. Directed by Griffin Dunne.