The United States of Leland
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Produced by Kevin Spacey, The United States of Leland is a psychological drama concerning the aftereffects of a brutal murder. It's also the first big-studio theatrical release for writer/director Matthew Ryan Hoge, whose previous work consists of the independent comedy Self Storage. Ryan Gosling plays Leland, an imprisoned teenager doing time for the stabbing murder of a disabled boy. Prison writing teacher Pearl Madison (Don Cheadle) gets caught up in the story with the intention of making a book out of it, especially when he finds out that Leland's father is the famous novelist… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 34%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An intriguing movie about how badly we really want to know the unknowable, what makes kids kill other kids."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"It's neither an insightful nor well-made film."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"Uneven drama that's too intense for kids."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Hoge seems to take delight in the fact that the film's conclusion is so frustratingly vague, whereas in fact it's both annoying and disappointing."
‑ Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
"... the ultimate result is like one of those college rock songs that hint at a depth that just isn't there."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"A sidetracking subplot about Madison's adulterous fling with a co-worker goes nowhere; it is one of several unsatisfying, tertiary plot strands."
‑ , Houston Chronicle
"[Hoge] spends an awful lot of time trying to get us to understand Leland and almost none trying to get us to understand his victim."
‑ Mike Ervin, Chicago Reader
""The United States Of Leland" deftly points out dilemmas in current American ideology that frequently escalate into tragedy."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Kevin Spacey, who produced the film, is wasted in completely unnecessary role."
‑ Dragan Antulov, Draxblog Movie Reviews
"A muddled and uninteresting psychological melodrama."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Isn't it sad that a boy like this could feel so lost that he had to kill someone? Well, maybe. But isn't it sadder that someone's dead?"
‑ Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger
"Besides being puffed up with its importance, it's also inert and totally implausible -- one of those movies where nobody behaves in a way that seems remotely human."
‑ Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle
"A very good film about the utter senselessness of murder..."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"Powerful and provocative--if perhaps a bit subdued."
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"What action there is in this movie takes forever to get going -- or maybe it just seems like forever because all of these characters are so unlikeable and unfathomable, and the dialogue between them is so trite and dumb."
‑ Shirley Sealy, Film Journal International
More reviews for The United States of Leland on Rotten Tomatoes

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