Twelve and Holding Michael Cuesta

Award-winning director Michael Cuesta continues to play with themes of teenage morality in his follow-up to 2001's L.I.E. Twelve and Holding tells the tale of the accidental death of a popular boy and the impact it has on his family, friends and most of all, his twin brother. After a pair of schoolyard bullies burn down a tree house that, unbeknownst to them, held ten-year-old Rudy Carges, they find themselves in juvie serving light murder sentences. In response, three of Rudy's playmates find different ways to handle their confusion and grief. Rudy's meeker twin, Jacob, seeks eye-for-eye vengeance; his friend, Malee, blocks out the crime, choosing instead to form an obsessive crush on a construction worker near the murder site. And Leonard, an overweight boy who was injured trying to save Rudy, starts dropping weight by exclusively eating apples and attempts to force the same regime on his overweight family (by locking them in the basement with apples, duh). Well-cast and hard to watch at times, Twelve and Holding is about how far you'd go for the people you love. It's a bizarre yet strangely believable film with purely dark forces - feelings of inadequacy, guilt, rage and betrayal - revolving around an otherwise sweet group of tweens. Cuesta isn't afraid to put children in adult situations, and in doing so is always purposeful and never exploitative. He presents juvenile logic in such a way that it allows you to understand a course of action, however wrong it is, instead of being baffled by it. Twelve and Holding is an engaging movie that will hopefully gain decent distribution. (Serenade)