When their parents are brutally murdered, Sylvie (Tyler) names her autistic younger brother Tim (Faulkner), aged nine, as the culprit. However, sheriff Mitch Rivers (Walsh) has his doubts, and calls in reluctant, haunted shrink Jake Rainer (Dreyfuss) to break down the boy's wall of silence. Although this device is a variation on that old thriller stand-by, 'selective amnesia', interest in the unravelling mystery is sustained not by a need to discover the killer's identity (obvious early on), but by involvement with the damaged characters and the need to establish a motive. Initially avoiding clever plot-twists in favour of intense character study, Beresford draws the best from a fine cast. Only when he tries to up the thrill quotient near the end are the contrivances of Akiva Goldsman's debut script revealed, like cracks in the smooth surface of a frozen lake.
Cast and crew