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The Good Son

Now, here's a thing: two years after its US release, this bad seed thriller reaches Britain, by-passing cinemas despite healthy US box-office takings. The reason has nothing to do with the film's shortcomings and everything to do with the murder of the Liverpool toddler James Bulger by two small boys and the media uproar which followed. Based on an original screenplay by Ian McEwan (who disowned the film), the story concerns young Mark (Wood), who comes to stay with his aunt and uncle and gradually discovers that his cousin Henry (Macaulay Culkin) is psychotic. Despite a few crude philosophical stabs at the nature of evil, the film is basically a straight-ahead melodrama, driven home with force if not finesse by the director of The Stepfather. Kit Culkin apparently held Fox to ransom over Home Alone 2 to extend his son's range with this role - in the event, young Mac is decisively upstaged by Wood, but the film's strongest selling point has to be a cliff-top finale in which the tyke's own mother has to choose whether he'll live or die. A summer camp classic.

Release details

Duration: 87 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joseph Ruben
Screenwriter: Ian McEwan
Cast: Macaulay Culkin
Elijah Wood
David Morse
Wendy Crewson
Daniel Hugh Kelly
Jacqueline Brookes
Quinn Culkin

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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John Behrens

I think this was a very good, and somewhat chilling, movie. It seems to be illustrating what happens when evil is ignored. I don't really understand why critics rate it so low.

John Behrens

I think this was a very good, and somewhat chilling, movie. It seems to be illustrating what happens when evil is ignored. I don't really understand why critics rate it so low.