EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|ADORATION (director/writer: Atom Egoyan; cinematographer: Paul Sarossy; editor: Susan Shipton; music: Mychael Danna; cast: Arsinée Khanjian (Sabine), Scott Speedman (Tom), Rachel Blanchard (Rachel), Noam Jenkins (Sami), Devon Bostick (Simon), Kenneth Welsh (Morris); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Atom Egoyan/Simone Urdl/Jennifer Weiss; Sony Picture Classics; 2008-France/Canada)|
|"Uneven enigmatic social
drama that's framed like an imaginative mystery
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Atom Egoyan ("Ararat"/"Chloe"/"Felicia's
is the writer-director of this uneven enigmatic social
drama that's framed like an imaginative mystery story.
The story is told in
flashback, veering back and forth from the present to
different time periods continuously.
Sabine (Arsinée Khanjian), who is Lebanese, is a French and drama
teacher in a Toronto high school. She has her
reasons for choosing an introspective student in her
French class, Simon (Devon Bostick), to translate a news story
about a pregnant Canadian woman, who arrived in Israel with
a bomb in her luggage placed there by her absentee
The powerful explosive was meant to go off during her
flight. Simon's imagination runs wild and he concocts a far-out story
himself as the unborn child of his now dead folks, his Christian Canadian mom
his Lebanese Arab father Sami (Noam Jenkins), who was raised by Uncle
mother's brother. The story comes across as if Simon's
father was a terrorist, who would kill his family for
his cause. The story of Simon's father being a
terrorist travels through the school and reaches the
Internet, where diverse individuals in chat groups opine on this
untrue story with different responses about Simon's
father being a terrorist.
The boy's late grandfather, Morris
(Kenneth Welsh), is depicted as a bigot, who believes
the worst about Simon's Lebanese father, a repairer
of violins who had secrets, and never had a good word
to say about his violinist's daughter's Arab husband.
After an hour of
building up the suspense of whether Simon's father is
a terrorist or not, we learn the truth from the
teacher who knows more about Simon's father than she
led on and by the now 30-year-old tow-truck operator
Uncle Tom telling us about the events eight years ago
that led to the death of Simon's parents in a
nighttime traffic accident and what part he played in
It's all about
long-sufferering characters slowly beginning to come
to terms with their grief over personal loss, as it
unravels a number of family secrets and makes a plea
for religious tolerance as the only way of getting to
the truth about Simon's dead father.
Though the film's
attempt to get at the root causes of racial bigotry
and reach out to those who can keep an open mind over
understanding different cultures might be provocative
and worth laying on a western audience still reeling
from 9/11, unfortunately the message delivered is
heavy-handed, tedious and not voiced clearly enough to
resonate with any assurance the message registered.
There's a manipulative
Mychael Danna musical soundtrack
soloists Yi-Jia Susanne Hou on violin, Winona Zelenka
on cello, and Eve Egoyan on piano) that tells you when the
filmmaker wants you to be sad or find things serious
or to react to the mood played the way it's expected,
which is not all that different from the manipulative storyline
which is so overwhelmingly arced with the filmmaker's
social agenda it would not be possible to think
differently (it's as if the auteur believes the viewer
couldn't think for himself without being nudged so
hard to see the obvious--running by us again the old
chestnut that even our high tech world brings us no
closer to the truth).
REVIEWED ON 10/1/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ