Playing the lead role of reporter Pearl Madison in The United States Of Leland is eventual Oscar nominee Don Cheadle. Three years after The United States Of Leland Cheadle would go on to be nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Hotel Rwanada in 2006. Along with Cheadle was eventual Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling who plays the title role of Leland. Gosling would be nominated for his work in the movie Half Nelson also in 2006. This kind of star power can guarantee that a movie at least break even but when you are an independent movie company, and you are casting Oscar caliber talent, then you have no budget left for advertising and marketing and that is what happened to The United States Of Leland. When no one knows your movie is being released then no one will come to see it and The United States Of Leland came and went without any fan fare which is a shame because the acting in this movie is simply brilliant.
The United States Of Leland is about a young man named Leland who commits the senseless, and unprovoked, murder of an autistic boy. For his crime Leland is sent to a juvenile detention center when he comes into contact with Pearl Madison who is a teacher at the detention center but also aspires to be an author. Madison starts to have long conversations with Leland and uncovers a sick and twisted view of the world that is both fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Madison sees his chance to make his mark as an author with Leland’s story because Leland’s father is the famous author Albert Fitzgerald which is played by Kevin Spacey. It is a fascinating and dark story that is written well and acted with precision and perfection. The United States Of Leland is certainly a movie that everyone should see if not for the twisted nature of the story then at least to see three Academy Award level talents performing lead roles in the same independent film together. It is not often that an independent movie can bring together a pool of talent like this and it is well worth the effort and well worth the time to sit and watch this brilliant movie. Just make sure you don’t watch it alone in the dark.