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The Lost Son (1999)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  21 April 1999 (France)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,242 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 18 critic

Xavier Lombard is a world-weary private eye in London, in exile from his native Paris; his best friend is Nathalie, a high-class call girl. He gets a call from an old friend from the Paris ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Xavier Lombard
Marianne Denicourt ...
Mrs. Spitz
Cyril Shaps ...
Mr. Spitz
Hemal Pandya ...
Billy Smyth ...
Boy No 6
Joe White ...


Xavier Lombard is a world-weary private eye in London, in exile from his native Paris; his best friend is Nathalie, a high-class call girl. He gets a call from an old friend from the Paris police department, now a businessman whose brother-in-law is missing. The missing man's parents hire Xavier over their daughter's objections, and quickly he finds himself in the realm of children's sexual slavery. He guesses that the lost son is dead and shifts his focus to finding and breaking this lucrative business of child trafficking. He involves a reluctant Nathalie to hunt "the Austrian," the shadowy head of the business. Violence erupts quickly, and Xavier soon has little more to lose. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certaines causes méritent de tout sacrifier. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes involving sexual exploitation of children, strong violence, language and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

21 April 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Az elveszett fiú  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After 45 features in his native language, this is Daniel Auteuil's first English speaking role. See more »


Lombard picks up a Walther PPK pistol with the magazine removed. He cycles the slide and then inserts the magazine. Although it appears he was charging the weapon, all he has done is ensure the gun is not loaded (there may be rounds in the mag, but there is no round in the chamber). See more »


References Peeping Tom (1960) See more »


Composed by Gabriel Fauré
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User Reviews

Complex and sometimes slow, but intriguing, and Daniel Auteuil is good!
3 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Lost Son (1999)

All the elements are here for a classic noir-inspired investigation movie where no one is to be trusted and our leading man is a likable, steady, world weary paradigm. If you are familiar with "The Big Sleep" with Bogart and crew, you might actually get a sense of what this movie is trying to do. Not only does the plot begin in a similar way, with a rich family saying one of their members (the son) is missing and with the daughter being a steamy and somewhat unreliable secondary force (played by Nastassja Kinski), but then the rest of the movie proceeds to get increasingly confusing.

In "The Big Sleep" this is almost a positive thing, making it fast, visual, and experiential (meaning you get sucked into the world and can't stop looking and trying to keep up). Here, in "The Lost Son," it isn't what anyone would call fast, which hurts it because the complexity builds and the suspicions fester with lots of lulls, either whole short scenes that don't seem quite necessary or with an editing that makes every little cut one or two seconds too long. Which adds up to a kind of pace some people might like, a loitering and inhabiting this strange little nether world the movie creates. But for me it just made me fuzz out a little.

The leading detective, Xavier Lombard, is played by the really compelling French actor, Daniel Auteuil. He carries the movie even through it's pauses. Besides Kinski, whose role is small (and thankfully, really--she doesn't really "act" so much as say her lines), there is a second male lead, the Irish actor Ciaran Hinds, who is quite good. (He had a terrific role in the peculiar and enjoyable "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.") And the filming is rather nice, with a huge range of scenes and moods, held together not only by the camera-work, but the solid directing by Chris Menges.

There will be an odd feel to this film for some American viewers, because it's an increasingly common hybrid of French and British filmmaking--language, crew, cast, and locations all spread out from one side of the Channel to the other. It's nicely European, but less of that familiar "British" film that many people know (or know without knowing they know it, looking vaguely like Hollywood). In short, this has a slightly fresh look. It does not however feel as new or odd or wonderful as some of the detective crime films coming out of, say, Scandinavia, among the European types.

This matters only in that half of the film is its atmosphere. The plot and some of the core acting could use a bolstering and maybe even a sense of necessity at times (the movie just keeps going through its attractive paces), but in all, it might even be a film you'd enjoy more the second time. Which says a lot.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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