Tenderness : DVD Review

Title: Tenderness
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jon Foster, Sophie Traub, Alexis Dziena
Directed By: John Polson
UK Release Date: 26/04/10
Certificate: 15

Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Good Year) is Detective Cristofuoro. A cop obsessed with keeping an eye on a young killer that has been released from jail. As a big star he is probably underused here and the role might have suited a lesser known actor better. Honestly he doesn’t add anything to this film. Jon Foster (The Informers – which by the way was complete garbage) is excellent as Eric Poole a boy who has killed a couple of young girls and then gone on to murder his parents. He is released from a short prison spell due to the fact that his mother had drugged him up on prescribed pills (presumably to keep him calm and placid instead of the raging ball of hormones most kids are, yeah… just go with it, it’s not that important in terms of the plot) basically as she didn’t know how to look after him properly – a move which clearly went horribly wrong for her. Sophie Traub (The Interpreter) matches him every step of the way as Lori, a girl who once met Eric, and subsequently saw him murdering his first victim.

Both characters deeply flawed and clearly damaged. Foster and Traub play them excellently and both deserve credit for their performances. Alexis Dziena (the completely naked girl in Broken Flowers) is Maria the girl that Eric has become infatuated with and no doubt is most likely to be his next victim. He goes on a road trip to meet up with her and Lori tags along, having stowed away in Eric’s car boot, in order to befriend him.

This is a nicely observed story, well written, gripping at points, and compelling throughout. The direction is delicate and the performances full of nuance and genuine vigour and vitality.
It may not be the first film you’d be thinking of renting from your local rental store but I’d encourage you to give it a go. Apart from the headline star of Russell Crowe this is a fairly low key release. But it deserves your attention. It succeeds where many other films along the same lines have failed and it’s all down to the excellent performances and careful direction as well as a well written script. Expect to see more of both Foster and Traub – still virtually unknown as big name actors – their stars are clearly on the rise.