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A rebellious teenager navigates his way through the juvenile court system.

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Stealing Cars movie full length review - Good Intentions

I enjoyed the concept behind this movie and wished it well when I began watching it. A restless youth trying to find a way to blend into society? Sounded like a good idea to me, a sort of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE for a new decade. The end result left me wishing for something better fitting the theme.

Billy Wyatt (Emory Cohen) is a trouble youth sent to the Bernville Camp for Boys for stealing cars. Here is where things begin to go south. The camp begins to fill out with clichés from nearly every prison movie ever seen. We have the sadistic guard who takes no guff and deals out corporal punishment whenever he can. We have various groups in the camp who keep themselves sorted from one another. And we have an anti-hero who walks around with a smart mouth and becomes friends with no group but with a single other outsider.

As the film progresses the warden of the facility, Montgomery De La Cruz (John Leguizamo), attempts to break down the walls that Billy has built around himself in an attempt to help him. At least at times it seems that way. At other times the character seems to revert back to being that stereotypical warden character seen in so many films. There is no fault in Leguizamo on this matter but in the writing of the character. One moment he seems threatening and the next sympathetic.

As Billy deals with his time in the camp in various ways. He breaks out on at least three separate occasions. Somehow that feels like the security in this place needs work but no one ever addresses that. He begins what could be a romantic connection to the camp nurse (Heather Lind), an employee that seems to be there for battling her own demons rather than to help young people battling theirs. Lastly he breaks down the barriers between different factions in the camp to get them to unite in a project taking on the role of leader. These separate issues never seem to quite gel before the end of the film though each of them are answered.

What really does harm to the movie is the low end quality of the whole film. The look is less polished than most and not done so from an artistic standpoint at least that I could tell. The performances are just so so and the main character of Billy as portrayed by Cohen lacks any reason for anyone to feel sympathy for him, even when we learn what sent him over the edge. So much time is spent making him seem like such a jerk that by the time we should feel something for him we can't care. His quips and attempts at being a smart aleck are lame at best and unbelievable for the most part.

In the end you want to care for Billy and the rest of the boys in the camp but the movie feels more like an afterschool special than a feature film. I'm certain there are some for whom this film will fulfill the needs they have and the standards that they set but for me I found it lacking. It's supposed to be based on a true story but my guess is the real story was far more interesting than its portrayed here.