Robert De Niro
The reason for this is without a doubt the fact that just prior to the film opening, it was revealed that Lorenzo Carcaterra, who wrote the memoirs the film was based on (with him being the Shakes character) pretty much made up the whole story, with no New York records existing that mention any allegations of abuse, nor a trial such as the one depicted in the film. For what itís worth, Carcaterra has stood by his story, but the film now carries a disclaimer it didnít when I saw it back in Ď96.
Truth or fiction, the events in SLEEPERS could have happened, and Iím sure thereís hundreds of similar stories out there that just havenít been told. Itís a powerful film, and one that always shakes me up, no matter how many times I see it. The cast is superb, with De Niro having a great part as the boysí streetwise priest, and Dustin Hoffman hamming it up as a cokehead lawyer who comes into play later in the film. Jason Patric was so good in SLEEPERS that everyone thought heíd be the next Tom Cruise, although an ill-advised turn as an action hero in the disastrous SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL made sure that never happened, although heís still brilliant from time to time, in films like NARC. Brad Pitt also got a lot of buzz off this, but truthfully, Pitt hadnít yet evolved into the actor he is now (that only happened in í99 with FIGHT CLUB), and heís a bit of the weak link here. Ron Eldard really steals the show for me, even though he only has one really big scene (a great one, where he looks in a bathroom mirror and debates whether or not to kill Bacon).
That said, the best part of SLEEPERS is the first half of the film, which concentrates on the boys, and features a powerhouse performance from Brad Renfro, who tragically died young after wrestling with demons of his own for many years.