All The Little Animals

on September 03, 1999 by Susan Green
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The Cornwall countryside looks spectacular but the odd story that unfolds there, in the first film directed by Jeremy Thomas (primarily known as Bernardo Bertolucci's producer), has no sure footing. It moves from a Cinderella fairytale with "Rain Man" pathos to the good-versus-evil realm of daytime soap operas (minus the sexual content).
Bobby (the normally adept Christian Bale), brain-damaged since a childhood car accident, is left in the care of a calculating stepfather he calls The Fat (Daniel Benzali). After refusing to sign over the family department store to this sadistic monster, the boy flees into the wider world. Bobby blossoms soon after he encounters Mr. Summers (John Hurt), a hermit who protects animals and even insects from human predators. Together, they spend their days burying road kill until The Fat tracks them down, with dire consequences.
Although the movie ostensibly celebrates the kinder, gentler side of life, violence triumphs as "All the Little Animals" descends into grisly terror. Starring Christian Bale, John Hurt and Daniel Benzali. Directed and produced by Jeremy Thomas. Written by Eski Thomas. A Lions Gate release. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 110 min.
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