The Chocolate War

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Released 1988

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Movie Summary

Director:
Keith Gordon
Released:
1988
Rating:
R

The Chocolate War is the acclaimed 1988 adaptation of the novel by Robert Cormier, directed by actor-turned-director Keith Gordon (Christine, Back to School). The film takes place in a private Catholic School and concerns itself with the secret goings-on within the religious hierarchy. Among the staff is Brother Leon (John Glover) an inwardly cruel, self-centered, vindictive poor excuse of a teacher. Yearly he holds the students accountable for raising the student activities' funds. In exchange for this suppliant behavior on their part, he allows them to hold court in a clandestine group call 'The Vigils.' The cell is structured from highest to lowest and overseen by a presiding president (Adam Balwin) and his secretary Archie Costello, (Wallace Langham). Both owe their power to Brother Leon who allows their childish behavior to ride roughshod over their lower classmates by assigning them to petty pranks. Enter Jerry Renault (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) a new student with deeply ingrained personal problems. Pressured by brother Leon, the boys are ordered to sell boxes of chocolates. Realizing it's a repetitive, yearly ritual, the entire student body reluctantly agrees to sell the sweets, all except Renault. His reason for refusal becomes a test of wills, escalating into an true test of power. The decision made by Renault blossoms into a further problem when everyone realizes his decision to not participate could bring the traditional structure to its knees.

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    Drama