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Film review: Back Roads

Shelved: Pettyfer in his grim drama

REVIEW

Back Roads

(18) ★★✩✩✩

Available to download from Friday

FORMER British child star Alex Pettyfer (Alex Rider in teen actioner Stormbreaker) is now best known for playing a pretty boy in Magic Mike. Eternally typecast as the sexy, blond, handsome one, the proactive 29-year-old admirably musses up his image with a directorial debut, which allows him to do some Serious Acting.

Ever since their mother (Juliette Lewis) was sent to prison two years ago for killing their abusive father, Harley (Pettyfer) has been taking care of his three younger sisters.

One night he meets an older married mom-of-three (Jennifer Morrison, of Once Upon A Time fame) and their affair stirs up half-buried secrets, lies and shame.

Set in the backwards of Western Pennsylvania in the 1990s, this disturbing story of family abuse is based on Tawni O’Dell’s bestseller (an Oprah’s Book Club pick). Ponderously acted, Pettyfer conjures the subdued small town drabness almost too well.

Ultimately, though, Back Roads is unrewarding — like getting an Easter basket filled with lead eggs.