Running Scared--not the 1986 action-comedy starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines, but rather the 2006 kick-ass-fest written and directed by Wayne Kramer--is a dark and disturbing look into the desperate lives of adults willing do whatever-it-takes to get theirs, and one kid who has, finally, had enough.
From the opening scene, Running Scared is scene after scene of over-the-top desperation, action and violence. Joey Gazelle, played by lead actor Paul Walker, is a local mob grunt who finds himself chest deep on trouble when a gun he is supposed to have hidden--the same gun used to kill several dirty cops in the opening scene--is stolen and used in a crime. To complicate matters, the thief who took the gun is an eleven (or so) year-old-kid named Oleg (Cameron Bright, from Birth), who took the gun to stop his father from further abusing and terrorizing his family. After the gun is used to wound his Dad, Joey realizes that the police will trace the gun back to him (and figure out it is the weapon used earlier to kill the dirty cops) if he doesn't recover it.
Problem is, Oleg has taken off, forcing Joey to search for him. That trip is disturbing. Incredibly, horrifically disturbing.
Running Scared is a film about how people deal with, overcome or embrace despair. That theme drives the movie, and is one of the main reasons I couldn't fully embrace it. I simply cannot enjoy a movie where children are placed in situations of perversion, or where kids are the object of graphic, no-holds-barred violence. And this film has that, and more. That's too bad for me, because otherwise I really liked the plot, the interesting visual manner with which Kramer tells the back story and the nail-biting action.
So, if you can get past my issue with the kids, you may really like this movie.