This skittish examination of the harsh passage of childhood is the second offering from ‘L.I.E.’ director Michael Cuesta, and it’s a film that never quite equals the sum of its many intriguing parts. When young Rudy is burnt alive in an impromptu Molotov attack on his backwoods treehouse, we trace the fallout via the lives of three 12-year-old acquaintances: his grief-stricken brother, who vows blood revenge; fatherless Malee, who attempts to instigate an affair with a much-older construction worker; and the portly Leonard, who descends into crisis over his morbidly obese family. The various plot strands fan out – Iñárritu-style – from the opening mishap and regularly converge while covering the fairly standard bases of teenage sexual craving, body dysmorphia and parental neglect. The performances from the young actors all hail from the Dakota Fanning school of kids-pretending-to-be-adults style of acting, allowing the director to take liberties with the characterisation, which, unwisely, he often does. Ultimately lacking the courage of its convictions, this mendacious and awkward film isn’t quite up to the standard of the similarly themed ‘Mean Creak’ in that none of its content ever rings true.