MY SON (Mon garçon)
Cohen Media Group
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Christian Carion
Screenwriter: Christian Carion, Laure Irmann
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Mélanie Laurent, Olivier de Benoist, Antoine Hamel, Mohamed Brikat
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 4/25/19
Opens: May 10, 2019
Have you noticed how critics and some normal moviegoers put a large emphasis on credibility? Do you believe this story? Look at all the plot holes! Of course if you’re talking about Marvel Studio outputs, nobody expects anything like real life. For me, an action movie—a kidnapping film such as “My Son”– may make you wonder about things like “How did the hero locate the bad guys? How does a father looking for his seven-year-old son manage to take on kidnappers with just a golf club when the villains are armed? There’s a lot in “Mon garçon,” as the French call the picture, to make you wonder about all this, and the movie risks unintentional audience laughter. But there are saving graces. First are the edge-of-the-seat action sequences. Second is the skill of Guillaume Cant in the role of Julien, the largely absentee father who is not “there” for his son, to the dismay of his ex-wife Marie (Mélanie Laurent).
This looks like an actor’s exercise, actor, singular, as Guillaume (pronounced GEE ahm) Canet, who is having a busy year, opening soon as a vindictive editor in Olivier Assaysas’ talky “Non-Fiction.”
Christian Carion may want it known that “My Son” was filmed in six days with his principal performer in the dark about the movie’s plot. Carion, who picked up an Oscar nomination for his “Joyeux Noel,” about how an unofficial Christmas truce allows soldiers on both sides of the trenches in World War 1 to socialize for a short time, in this film focuses not on large casts but really on one guy. Director Carion, who co-wrote the script with Laure Irmann in her sophomore writing project, hones in on Julien’s guilt. He had been abroad most of the year for dangerous assignments in the Middle East and Africa forgetting that he is a dad, and, as his ex tells him, “Mathys (Lino Papa) needs a father.”
So what does she do? She takes up with one Grégoire (Olivier de Benoist), who stupidly “rubs it in” to his girlfriend’s ex by talking all about how he will sell the house belonging to Julien and Marie and move together with little Mathys to a place in the sticks. Needless to say, when the seven-year-old disappears from camp, you can’t blame Julien for considering Greg to be the prime suspect.
Most of the picture finds Julien crying, overwhelmed by guilt, yelled at by his beautiful wife (who wants to go to the Middle East and Senegal when you have everything you need at home?), and heading off in search of the abductors. After knocking Grégoire out, he heads out to discover a man with an intermediate role in the abduction, burns his feet with a blowtorch and threatens to fix the guy’s face in a climactic moment of violence.
“My Son,” then, has a passable story, considerable action (as opposed to Canet’s performance in the “Non-Fiction” talkathon), and nice scenery caught by DP Eric Dumont as Julien races to find his boy.
In French, English subtitles.
86 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – C+
Acting – B+
Technical – B
Overall – B-