Monday, May 6, 2019

MY SON: Guillaume Canet's an avenging angel-daddy in Christian Carion's silly-but-fun film

Thrillers don't come packed with much more happenstance and coincidence than MY SON, the 2017 film just now opening in the USA from French filmmaker Christian Carion, who co-wrote and directed this trifle. Not to be confused with the much better movie, Your Son, this one is all about the disappearance of a seven-year-old from the sleep-away camp to which his mom and step-dad have sent him. Thank goodness for the boy's father, played with a fierce combination of stupidity and steely-eyed, action-hero resolve by Guillaume Canet, who steps in to save the day.

M. Carion, shown at right, each of whose earlier films TrustMovies has enjoyed, here seems to be working on perhaps his smallest budget yet. His movie, definitely the least of his accomplishments thus far, has few characters and even less believability. Yet once you're far enough into its pretty much straight-ahead story, you're likely to be quite caught up.

This is as much thanks to Canet's bordering-on-crazy performance, as to the child-in-danger storyline. A performer who usually commits totally to his role -- whether it's that of serial-killing cop or game-playing lover -- he does it again here and walks off with a movie that's maybe not quite worth walking off with. Still, what the hell. Canet, shown on poster, top, and below, makes all this very weird fun.

That fine actress Mélanie Laurent (below) is totally wasted in the role of the wife,

but as her new boyfriend, Olivier de Benoist (below) has one terrific scene in which he just about steals the movie.

What is most surprising, I think, is how much suspense Carion is able to muster using situations and plot devices that often seem either tired or silly. While what the movie says about the abilities of the French provincial police departments is not especially good, maybe it's all really about how dad can become a near-super-hero (by only using his brain, helped along by coincidence) when his precious though seldom-seen son is at risk.

Judge for yourself, as My Son -- from Cohen Media Group, in French with English subtitles, and running 84 minutes -- opens this Friday, May 10 in New York City at the Quad Cinema and FIAF's Florence Gould Hall and in the Los Angeles area at the Laemmle Music Hall, followed by a limited national rollout.

No comments: