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Old 07-06-2010, 10:32 PM   #1
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Interference Movie Club - Round 2 - "The Son"

The Son
Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Suggested by Gump - Monday, July 5

Discussion begins Monday, July 12

Quote:
Originally Posted by netflix
Olivier (played by Olivier Gourmet, who won the 2002 Best Actor Award at Cannes for his role) is a divorced man who teaches carpentry at a vocational training center. When a psychologically damaged teenager named Francis turns up in class, Olivier becomes obsessed with the boy. But when Olivier's ex-wife, Magali (Isabella Soupart), learns of the boy, she's horrified, which adds another cryptic layer onto this complex drama.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:52 PM   #2
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How fitting, Lance creating a thread for "The Son".
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:55 PM   #3
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:26 AM   #4
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Shouldn't be hard to find to download, I'll look for it tomorrow.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:44 AM   #5
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It wasn't.


I mean, you're right. It shouldn't be.

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Old 07-07-2010, 10:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazarus View Post
How fitting, Lance creating a thread for "The Son".
Now I can think of so many fitting film titles!
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:20 PM   #7
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So it seems it’s time for me to post some sort of enlightened review of the movie. Of course I will fail miserably at that, but here are some thoughts. This was my first Dardennes (I have yet to see Rosetta and The Child – embarrassing, I know) and I can now say I’m looking forward to discovering the rest of their work.

After reading some reviews of The Son this weekend, one of the adjectives that really stood out as perfectly encapsulating the film is modesty. While the story could easily lend itself to become a melodrama, the Dardenne brothers show impeccable restraint both in plot and technique. There are no easy moral answers or one-dimensional characters; restraint accentuates the complexity of the story. The Dogma-like style of the Dardennes, in my view, only reinforces the film’s earnestness.

Honesty also accurately describes the leading character. Olivier’s approach to life is similar to his approach to carpentry. The tool boxes that Olivier helps his students prepare are just as austere and unpretentious as himself. One of the key moments of the film for me is when his ex-wife learns about the identity of Francis and asks something along the lines of “who do you think you are” or “what are you doing”. Olivier answers sharply: I don’t know. There is so much meaning in this simple exchange that any further exploration of Olivier’s inner conflicts. I have to say that Olivier Gourmet’s performance in this film is nothing short of extraordinary (and he rightfully won the Best Actor award in Cannes).

Some criticis have tried to interpret the film as a Christian allegory of returning good for evil (see Village Voice). I am not sure if I fully accept it, though. It is difficult to deny some subliminal messages in a film called “The Son” where the main character is a carpenter. But I don’t see the Dardennes trying to send any sort of message of countering evil with good; rather I think that the main statement is that people have choices, nothing is pre-determined. It is a very individualistic movie in this sense.

Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed the movie. I had a great time not only watching it, but thinking about it afterwards.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:20 PM   #8
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double post.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:34 PM   #9
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Ha, double posting good times all over the place today. *kicks forum*

I watched it yesterday. Hard to say if it was something I liked, but I'm not sorry I watched it.

It's interesting watching some foreign films, how they're just so different from your typical Hollywood movie. (Duh, right? )

What went through my head for most of the movie was "What would this movie be like if it had been made in Hollywood?" A parent meeting with his child's killer. There would have been dramatic music, and maybe some overwrought scenes to garner an Oscar nomination, a heartfelt speech about forgiveness.

I wasn't really in the mood to watch it yesterday afternoon, knowing I'd be glued to my laptop rather than the TV, but I wanted to watch it right away so I'd have something to say. By the time it was done, I really appreciated its quietness.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:29 AM   #10
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I thought it was godawful, personally. It boasted a potentially intriguing conflict, but it was eclipsed by...closeups of that old guy's head. Was it modest? Absolutely. Modest budget, modest talent, modest directional skill. I got through it, but only by tossing out copious amounts of increasingly vicious barbs.

The positives? I didn't hate any of the characters. I wanted peace and safety to all involved. I was also amused by old guy never removing his Carpenterman garb, regardless of the situation.

The negatives? The ex-wife couldn't act. The movie focused far too heavily on insignificant details, to the detriment of, you know, movement. I get it, Carpenterman is a fatass and can't do situps. Perhaps that was because he wore a huge fucking leather codpiece at every hour of the day, perhaps it was simply filler. Who knows? I had to make up my own conflicts due to the very few that the film offered me. I convinced myself that Carpenterman and The Son had homoerotic tension happening between them, with the bit about hard wood being easy to run your hands along sealing the deal.

I just don't know, guys.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:34 AM   #11
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I don't buy that argument I hear thrown around all the time. That movies like this don't get made in America. They do. We obviously just don't see them in theaters, just like most of the time we don't see the foreign ones either.


Anyways, I really didn't get much out of this, but I'm glad to see others did. This probably goes to show more than anything that I'm not much of an educated film viewer, but I'm not going to apologize for that, it's not what I enjoy, not in these over-wrought instances. You can have a movie that is built around scenery and emotion more than dialogue and have it be just as, if not more enthralling than the former. Here, I saw the back of this guy's head more than anything else, never able to quite capture any of his feelings, to really side with him emotionally. Probably the main reason I did feel so much for the ex-wife, I actually saw her eyes most of the time.

It was pretty firmly established 30 minutes into the movie that he led a flat singular existence, and with that in place, maybe seeing a bit into the world of the kid would've been nice. A little more of a look into the lives of the other kids he interacted with as well. I really liked the bit early in the film with his answering machine, but it wasn't enough to quite allow me to catch the significance of the scene with the kid whose mother needed rehab. The film wasn't that long, they could easily have given a bit of focus to the guy's life outside of his home.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bono_212 View Post
I don't buy that argument I hear thrown around all the time. That movies like this don't get made in America. They do. We obviously just don't see them in theaters, just like most of the time we don't see the foreign ones either.
I should have clarified that I was thinking of big ol' Hollywood movies, not indie productions.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:01 PM   #13
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I feel bad that most people didn't like it - at least bad reactions are better than no reaction whatsoever, I guess.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:42 PM   #14
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At least you took a really, really distant shot in the dark. Shawshank and Pulp Fiction will probably be nominated somewhere down the line, and then we can all be one big, happy, esoteric-reference-making family again.
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:37 AM   #15
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Finally saw this, last night. For a film composed of, like, 90% over-the-shoulder shots, I didn't dislike it as much as I should have. I thought it was almost all right. But not terrible, by any means. Unlike some other heavy-handed, Christian-till-you-puke films which shall remain nameless, at least this one made some narrative sense.
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