31 August 2013 12:02 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Moving right along from his well-received “As I Lay Dying,” James Franco hurls himself into the work of one of Faulkner’s spiritual descendants with this determinedly rough and ragged take on Cormac McCarthy’s chilling 1973 novel, “Child of God.” Descending into the cavernous lower depths of human depravity inhabited by Lester Ballard, modern literature’s most famous necrophile, Franco has emerged with an extremely faithful, suitably raw but still relatively hemmed-in adaptation that compares favorably with his earlier films, yet falls short of achieving a truly galvanizing portrait of social and sexual deviance. If commercial success remains well out of reach for a film with this many bodily fluids and violated corpses, the picture’s artistic seriousness and the unimpeachable commitment of Scott Haze in the Ballard role should nonetheless keep Franco’s partisans energized. A plum berth in the New York Film Festival will follow its North American premiere in Toronto. »

- Justin Chang

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