Plattsmouth, Nebraska, 1968. Tattooed tearaway Frank Roberts (Mortensen) returns from Vietnam to be uncomfortably reunited with his brother Joe (Morse), a law-abiding family man. 'Some of the boys are coming back confused,' muses Bronson, excellently cast against type as the helpless father who needs constant reminding that 'Frank left confused'. As Joe strives in vain to rekindle the bond which once joined him to his brother, Frank descends into alcohol-addled oblivion. Inspired by Bruce Springsteen's 'Highway Patrolman', Penn's first project as writer/director is a film out of time, drenched in an overbearing '60s world-view which veers between the dated and the dopey. As a brother, Joe is heartbroken; as casual onlookers, we soon tire both of Frank's drunken philosophising and of Penn's reverence for his suffering. Potentially potent and not without naive charm, but ultimately a masturbatory ejaculation of all too personal juices.
Cast and crew