Dodge works for Bill who works with various young boys as hustlers. Bill is an angry man who hurts boys if they don't bring enough money home every night. One night Dodge finds Oliver and brings him him with him. He takes Oliver under his wing and instructs him in the unforgiving arts of drug abuse and prostitution. Oliver develops a crush on Dodge and views him as his boyfriend, complicating their friendship. Dodge does not reciprocate his feelings, and reacts angrily to Oliver's kisses and other signs of affection. As Oliver's innocence dissolves, both young men confront their demons, and ultimately it is Dodge who finds he cannot escape his past. At the same time we have Bill's girlfriend who works in the coffee shop and is also a subject of Bill's abuses. Oliver meets an old man, who suddenly takes interest in him and who seems like he could be his real father. Also we meet Dodge's brother who comes back to get him. Dodge doesn't want to go back home because he blames his oder brother for not intervening when their father was abusing him. The film ends with a very dark scene between Dodge and his brother.
Like I mentioned before, there is a lot in the film that is left for viewers imagination. I felt none of the characters were completely developed. No explanations were given on the girls abuse, Dodge's history, the older guy who suddenly gets interested in Oliver but then same way just starts ignoring him. The writing is the biggest drawback of this film. Low-key, and very slowly paced, with long camera "takes", this bleak story would have been better with a little more substantive action. Giving where the credit is due, the actors do quite a good job of acting. But given that their parts were so underdeveloped, there was only so much that they both do.
This movie comes across as depressing, and with good reason. While more faithful adaptations of Oliver Twist have the uplifting quality of people trying to leave their bad conditions, this movie just shows people sinking deeper into the muck. Perhaps this was intended by the writer/director, but the execution makes the movie less than memorable. (3.5/10)