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USA: Lot 47 Films
UK: Metro Tartan Distribution
Cast: Brian Cox, Paul Franklin Dano, Billy Kay, Bruce Altman, James Costa, Tony Michael Donnelly, Walter Masterson, Marcia DeBonis, Adam LeFevre
Director: Michael Cuesta
USA: 108 mins
UK: 97 mins
USA Rated: NC-17 for some explicit sexual content
UK Certificate: 18 contains abusive sexual relationship theme
USA Release Date: 7 September 2001 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 29 November 2002
L.I.E. is about a boy who, in losing just about everything and everyone he has in the space of a single week, finds himself.
Set in a world of contemporary suburban adolescence, L.I.E. begins as we join a group of boys who rob houses in the middle-class comfort of Long Island. While it seems that they break and enter strictly for kicks, they are good at it. Two of these boys, Howie (Paul Franklin Dano) and Gary (Billy Kay), are the very best of friends.
It is Gary's idea to rob the house belonging to an old guy named Big John (Brian Cox), and when Big John quickly figures out exactly who to go to after the crime, Howie learns that his pal Gary has been leading a secret life.
Gary and Big John have been engaged in a sex-for-pay relationship, and this secret life fascinates Howie. Perhaps for the first time he realizes that he can truly live, like Gary, outside the bounds of school, of home, and that it may be OK that his feelings for Gary may run deeper than those for his other friends. Gary, in the meantime, has figured out how to run away from Long Island, and when he leaves it is Howie who suffers the greatest loss. Howie's father - a white-collar builder with mounting legal troubles - is too wrapped up in his business and in love with his girlfriend to suspect that his son may be really hurting. And when his father finally gets busted by the FBI and taken to jail, Howie is truly alone. Alone, that is, until Big John steps in. But what, exactly, does Big John want, and just how much resilience can Howie - a mere 15-year-old - be expected to summon?
With L. I. E., director Michael Cuesta and his co-writers show us a suburban world full of charming criminality, innocent perversion and most importantly a depiction of adolescence that neither whitewashes nor condescends. L.I.E. is a journey full of surprises that may lead us to question many of our preconceptions and assumptions.