Manic review

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Boy, Interrupted is one way to describe this gritty tale of troubled teens, set in a juvenile mental hospital and shot on grainy DV (isn't everything these days?).

3rd Rock From The Sun's Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Lyle, a violent kid banged up for nearly killing a classmate. Can he learn to keep a lid on his hair-trigger temper? Resident shrink Don Cheadle thinks so, but then he has other problems to contend with: a suicidal recluse (Zooey Deschanel), a manic depressive (Michael Bacall) and a young Native American with a dark secret (Cody Lightning).

Comparisons with One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest may be inescapable but they're not all unflattering, with Gordon-Levitt and Cheadle both giving fiercely committed performances and director Jordan Melamed making the interesting point that endless external stimuli could be feeding the neuroses of today's mixed-up youth. Yet this semi-improvised drama is never quite as gripping as it could be, with many of the young leads coming across as more stroppy than genuinely screwed-up.

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