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2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film
Irreversible

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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The Blog:
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
 

The Son



Folks, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is here. A work of cinema so visceral, so powerful, so incredibly mind-blowing must be seen to be believed. And who wouldn’t want to see it? The Son is the movie for you. If you’ve been holding out for a film that features no less than a dozen scenes of a man hammering nails into Carolina pine 2x4s, this is the movie for you. If you’ve been holding out for a film whose idea of characterization is showing a lonely man doing sit-ups in his apartment while the camera stares down his nostrils, this is the movie for you. If you think that all of the other neo-realist European art films about forgiveness and parental grief weren’t enough, and you were jonesing for one more, this is the movie for you.

The Son is the latest film by Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, whose previous works such as La Promesse and Rosetta explored the same blue collar, cloudy-skied milieu of The Son, but they bothered to have a story and incidents. The Dardennes have decided to dispense with such trivialities this time around, spending an hour and a half on pure redundant nonsense on its way towards a cheaply predictable confrontation in the last ten minutes. What can you say about a film where the most exciting scene is a guy chasing a kid around an empty lumber yard? Look out, John Woo.

Filmed in hand-held Puke-O-Vision by veteran Dardenne cinematographer Alain Marcoen, who chose to pull focus every once in a while when he felt like it, the film looks like ass. Maybe the Dardennes could take a page from Mike Leigh and Dick Pope’s book, which says that gloomy verisimilitude can still be filmed with visual style and interest. If I want to see the back of someone’s ear for two hours, I’ll watch The Insider, thanks. There’s nothing to look at in this bankrupt, dull film -- just the same blood-blistered thumbs and receding hairline of Olivier Gourmet, whose performance is mainly a mask of detachment and a frighteningly humorless personality. But man, that script! You get to learn about rulers and measurements! Table saws! Air hoses! Even leather belts! It’s a cornucopia of flavors in The Son -- without anything to do while we wait for Olivier to confront the kid about killing his son (since the film doesn’t care to explain to us why divorcee Olivier thinks the boy owes him a son and won’t take the trouble to meet another woman and try to rebuild his life), the film gets to take us around corners and up stairs, replacing character with heavy breathing and psychological drama with silence on the soundtrack. I know you’ve all been waiting for a film this brilliant and original, and I know you wanted it to be lacking in any and all emotion or complexity, and I know you wanted to learn about right angles, vices, and planks of beech lumber -- finally, the movie camera has been utilized in the most fascinating of ways, and now’s your chance to pay good money to experience it.

[/sarcasm]