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Review: Hesher

A promise of things to come
By TOM MEEK  |  May 12, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

There's plenty to admire in Spencer Susser's feature debut, like the impressive cast — Rainn Wilson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Piper Laurie — and the heartfelt intentions of Susser's dark coming-of-age tale. But this determined auteur never settles on a consistent narrative tone or style. Gordon-Levitt plays the eponymous antihero, a tatted headbanger, drifter, and sociopath who intrudes into the life of TJ (Devin Brochu), a bullied boy reeling in the aftermath of his mother's death. My Bodyguard this is not. Hesher, after a chance encounter with TJ involving an M-80, simply squats at TJ's grandmother's house, where TJ's dad (Wilson) is too depressed to do anything. There he ratchets up the tension. The performances, especially by Wilson and Laurie as the grandmother, keep Susser's earnest effort afloat. Consider it a promise of things to come.

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