Caren Weiner Campbell
August 20, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

PARALLEL SONS Gabriel Mann, Laurence Mason (Strand, 93 mins., unrated) Deep Meaning Alert: This movie, released theatrically in 1996, features a character named Knowledge (Mason), and the rest of the film threatens to be just as heavy-handed: Seth (Mann), a young, white, artistic loner from a rural small town, has steeped himself in African-American pop culture. (Yes, this signifies alienation.) Then Knowledge arrives — a black convict, wounded in his escape. The two bond over TV trivia, fall in love, and make a break for Canada, veering dangerously close to Metaphorical Overkill. Fortunately, however, writer-director John G. Young presents his endearing characters with lifelike flaws, and shoots them with care and skill. Mann and Mason bring a compelling naturalness, which does more to make this tale meaningful than any overblown allegorical name ever could. B+

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