It's hard to tell whether L.I.E. would be more or less successful if it didn't featuring a sympathetic (and publicity generating) pederast in a central role. L.I.E. (short for Long Island Expressway, an important New York City artery) presents the relationship between an aging pedophile and former Marine named Big John (Brian Cox) and Howie (Billy Kay), a sensitive, streetwise young teen. John catches Howie and a gigolo friend robbing his apartment. Howie's mother was killed on the L.I.E., and his father is caught up in legal trouble, circumstances which allow an unusual relationship between man and boy to emerge.
For the most part, L.I.E. takes a hard, evenhanded look at its characters. Cox brings Big John to life with depth and pathos. This is certainly the most generous, full-bodied portrayal of pedophilia to date. Whether or not that's a good thing is something else entirely.
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