Daily News header

Gardens of the Night Film Review

By     get stories by email

Innocence Stolen Is Theme of Child Abduction Drama


Donnie (Evan Ross) doesn't exactly remember how he ended up in the clutches of Alex (Tom Arnold), but he thinks his mentally-unstable mother might have sold him to the middle-aged child molester. Leslie (Gillian Jacobs), on the other hand, was eight years-old when the same sicko abducted her with the help of a teen accomplice (Kevin Zegers).

For the past nine years, Donnie and Leslie have been simultaneously imprisoned and left traumatized by the unspeakable sexual abuse they've been subjected to by this pair of perverts. Over that span, the kids have held onto their sanity only by leaning on each other's shoulders and by exchanging promises to always be there for each other. In fact, they've grown so close, they now think of themselves as brother and sister, even though she's white and he's black.

Actually, of far more significance than their shades of skin tones is the bond which they developed while sharing a small bedroom, There, they created a fantasy world into which they could escape the never-ending nightmare. Then, at 17, Donnie and Leslie find themselves suddenly free but lacking the wherewithal to function normally. In order to survive, they turn to the only thing they know, namely, sex, so they end up prostitutes on the streets of San Diego.

gardens

So unfolds Gardens of the Night, a meticulously-researched loss of innocence drama written and directed by Damian Harris. Harris started work on the project way back in 1980, after being moved by the photo of a missing girl on a milk carton and reading a Newsweek cover story about stolen children. But it took him 10 years to write the first draft of his sobering script, this after speaking with parents and counselors of young kidnap victims, and with police officers assigned to the child sex crimes unit.

The upshot is a haunting tale which very convincingly conveys the overwhelming sense of helplessness and dread which undoubtedly afflicts impressionable souls unfortunate enough to be so exploited while still in the bloom of youth. Kudos to Gillian Jacobs and Evan Ross for their powerful lead performances and to Tom Arnold and John Malkovich for equally-effective outings in support roles.

A profoundly disturbing, super-realistic examination of pedophilia not to be screened on an empty stomach, nor forgotten during awards season..

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 110 minutes
Studio: City Lights Media Group

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Movie reviewer Kam Williams review the film, 'The Almost Man'. Williams gives the film, 3 stars and says it is a droll dramedy that examines the male metamorphosis from bachelor to family man.
Kam Williams presents his Top Ten DVD List for July 29, 2014, including Next Goal Wins, Secret State, Noah, D-Day 360, and Half of a Yellow Sun.
Prairie Miller talks to Actor Mandy Patinkin about Wish I Was Here and Homeland. Also on the script, A Most Wanted Man, a German spy thriller
Movie reviewer, Kam Williams interviews actor, songwriter Keith Robinson about his new film, 'Get on Up' for NewsBlaze readers around the world.
Wish I Was Here is the culmination of Zach's personal filmmaking at its best. As the movie's co-writer, director, star and producer, he was involved in nearly every aspect of the creative development.
A National Movie is now being cast by the A+ Agency, Rose Casting. To mark Independence Day, Dinesh D'Souza released the film version of his recent book America.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site