MOVIE REVIEW: “The Good Son” stars Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Wilfred [TV series]), Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone, My Girl), Wendy Crewson (Room, Air Force One), David Morse (The Green Mile, The Hurt Locker), Daniel Hugh Kelly (Star Trek: Insurrection, Cujo), Quinn Culkin (Wish Kid [TV series]), and Jacqueline Brookes (The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, Sea of Love). It is directed by Joseph Ruben (Dreamscape, Sleeping with the Enemy) and written by Ian McEwan (Atonement, The Children Act). While his dad is away on a two-week business trip, Mark (Wood) spends time with his cousin Henry (Culkin) and his family. However, as the days go on, Mark begins to suspect that Henry is a corrupted child, as he continues to show malicious, evil behavior.
Gotta love a good channel surf while you’re laying in bed sick. The lucky winner this time around is 1993’s “The Good Son.” Just in time for spooky season. Macaulay Culkin is evil and Elijah Wood must save the day once more. I mean, he is the “good son” after all, right? All joking aside, what a pairing this film made. Wood and Culkin? Geez. Seeing them as kids climbing a ladder to a treehouse fulfilled that non-existent fantasy that I never knew I didn’t have. You follow me? Okay, but seriously, this is an interesting watch. It’s one of those creepy 90’s flicks that deals with wicked people doing wicked things. In this case, it’s a little boy who doesn’t feel loved (at least, that’s the deeper level of it). From beginning to end, this story engaged me. Mainly because of its leads and the mystery of how it will all come to a head. It’s fairly easy to spot the beats of this story, but that certianly doesn’t prepare you for just what Henry does. The kid does some pretty messed up things (obviously), all the more made creepy by his complex dialogue for an twelve-year-old. Yeah, I could’ve done without that element. Culkin did a good job in the role, but the lines he had to convey were a bit too adult for him. No matter how good of an actor Culkin is, there was nothing that could make the words he said believable. He’s a kid after all. It’s a cheap shot to give him big vocabulary in hopes of making him more evil. If I were to make him talk like an adult, I would’ve attempted to make it more natural; possibly have him say big words that don’t fit the context all too much. At the end of the day, it’s all about the actions of Henry that defines him, and by the third act, you want to see this kid suffer the consequences. Elijah Wood did a good job as well, playing great off of Culkin. The two have good chemistry and Wood plays a convincing protagonist to have you rooting for him throughout the journey. Obviously, there’s a few character choices and story elements that seem convenient or annoying. There’s opportunities Mark could’ve taken to resolve this conflict sooner, but of course the movie has to be feature length. And at under an hour-and-a-half, there could’ve been more scenes to really sink our teeth into the severity of the climax/conclusion. By the time the ending arrived, I was surprised. It seemed to happen too soon, though I know that with a plot like this, things could get very repetitive (Henry does something evil, Mark tries to tattle, Henry forces him not to). Either way, I would’ve loved to see another scene to fully carve out the depth of Henry and his mom’s relationship, so as to make the ending all the more soul-crushing. That, or give more dimension to Henry as a whole, since there aren’t many scenes that give clarity to his evil ways. At the end of the day, “The Good Son” works as a solid, thriller piece with a fun (in a retrospective way) set of leads to watch. It has its flaws, but overall I’d say it’s a good work of entertainment. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: