Saturday, 5 December 2009
The Son (Le Fils) 
Dardenne brothers’ The Son is a difficult movie to classify, and hence assess in a few words as I do here. A complex and quietly unsettling character study, the movie is about revenge and catharsis – only that, like Revanche, the revenge never happens, and the catharsis is muted to the point of silent implosion. Oliver Gourment, a regular in the Belgian siblings’ movies, has given a deeply layered and restrained, yet undeniably breathtaking performance as Oliver, a middle-aged and laconic carpentry instructor who, incidentally or accidentally, comes in contact with a young apprentice who in turn, many years back, was responsible for his son’s death. The fist half of the movie is about his growing albeit fidgety obsession with the boy, while the second lies in his trying to come to peace with his own mind, once and for all. The camera movement, which continually follows Oliver from his back, makes watching the movie a deeply disorienting and onerous experience; yet, strangely, it paves way to a feel of immediacy and passive attachment to the withdrawn protagonist who might not have been as accessible to the viewers otherwise. This arthouse movie might thus be relentlessly bleak, disquieting and demanding, but the end product is a powerful, layered and enriching work of art laced with grim realism, religious symbolisms and metaphors.
Director: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama