Brothers Martin and Simon, not yet teens, are incorrigible vandals; Martin runs away from reform school, Simon from foster homes, and they always find each other in a seacoast town of ...
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Brothers Martin and Simon, not yet teens, are incorrigible vandals; Martin runs away from reform school, Simon from foster homes, and they always find each other in a seacoast town of Lignan, where their destructive behavior is infamous. (It may date to their mother's leaving the family.) Martin is philosophical, romantic, and poetic: he dreams of being the son of a shark; he holds tight to a book about goldfish his mother gave him. In both halting and wild ways, he tries to court Marie, a neighbor girl. Simon, with a pocketknife and an intractable will, seems more dangerous to others. What, on earth, is there for these children-becoming-men? Written by
"Son of the Shark" is about two young brothers who spend their waking hours trying to get into as much trouble as they can. The older brother has some strange obsession (and I do mean obsession) with the idea of being the son of a female shark. He talks to himself about it over and over again throughout the film. That must be where the ingenious title is derived from! The whole shark angle seemed ill-conceived and never came close to approaching the type of seductive, mystical quality that can be found in "The Big Blue". In that film, Jacques' fascination with the ocean and dolphins was woven into the fabric of the story and played a pivotal role. Here it just seems like a gimmick.
Another insurmountable problem this film faces is that the boys are not shown to be anyone we would be likely to have any sympathy for. It is not until the final minutes of the film that they are shown to be anything more than emotionless vandals and thieves. The kids seem to take great joy in causing the suffering of others and it's inadvisable to try and play the sympathy card so late in a movie. Perhaps Agnes Merlet should've turned to "The 400 Blows" for some help with that aspect. Antoine Doinel was certainly a troubled kid but the viewer could tell that he was more hurt and confused rather than irredeemably evil.
There were a couple of scenes in "Son of the Shark" that were obviously supposed to shock and/or disgust the viewer. Since they aren't in a proper context, however, these scenes lose whatever significance they were supposed to have. I reached the conclusion of this film without being either entertained or enlightened in any manner. For a film that appears to be saying something, it left me feeling nothing. 2/10
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