Back Roads movie review: High drama in small town USA

Alex Pettyfer in Back Roads
Alex Pettyfer in Back Roads, in which he also makes his directorial debut

Actor Alex Pettyfer makes his directorial debut with a melodrama that was actually co-written (with Tawni O’Dell) by Fatal Attraction helmer Adrian Lyne.

As you might guess, then, there is little nuance in the characters of this movie set against the backdrop of child abuse in small town Appalachia.

Pettyfear is a youngish man (teens, twenties?) who must manage the remnants of a household following the killing of their father by their now imprisoned mother. His three younger female siblings are of various ages, all harboring dark secrets with Gothic novel overtones.

The filmmaker has given himself the Herculean tasks of not only making directorial debut but starring it in as well. Bad decision, because apparently there was no one around to modulate the performances of the cast, which range from white hot to tepid.

Juliette Lewis as the embattled mother and June Carryl as affectionate social worker rise above the hit-and-miss direction with affecting performances.

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