The Long Island Expressway, where director Alan J Pakula lost his life, has also claimed the mother of the adolescent Howie (Dano) in this tough yet tender coming of age story. With his widower dad wrapped up in his own problems, Howie falls in with fast company - and then Big John (Cox), community stalwart with a covert taste for teenage boys. Director Cuesta subverts potentially exploitative material by examining the hinterland between sexuality and emotional connection. Without condoning Big John's activities, there's a troubling understanding of the meeting point between the older outsider's manipulative charisma and the youth's need for adult belonging. By turns predatory and paternal, Cox's extraordinary contribution is one of the performances of the year.