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Jean-Luc is an established gerontologist who can do no wrong; he runs a private clinic specialising in anti-ageing treatments. Honoured for his work in this field, he throws a garden party at his home. It is during this social event that his father suddenly reappears, back after a long exile. A physician, he had left decades earlier without any apparent reason to practice in Africa. He moves into his son's home for several days, phlegmatically observing everything with an enigmatic smile. He peruses Jean-Luc's life and environment with cruel objectivity. The arrival of this interloper father, who everyone thought had disappeared for good, shatters the family microcosm: Jean-Luc doesn't know how to take him, as if the memory - or the resentment - was nothing but lost time; his wife becomes fond of this highly unconventional man; after first refusing to deal with him, Jean-Luc's younger brother strikes up a modest bond with him. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I was very interested to see the previous film of director Anne Fontaine before she did the excellent 'Nathalie'. 'Comment j'au tue mon pere' did not disappoint, although it may not be a easy film for everybody's taste.
Despite the title this is no detective story, and there is almost no physical violence in this movie. It is the world of the French middle-high class, people are polite and talk quiet. A well-doing doctor lives with his wife and his brother when their lives are changed by the arrival - as in a inverse parable - of the prodigal father, the one who left the boys as kids. Not only that the characters cannot re-do the time lost, but they do not seem to even look or express any affection. The emotions behind their cold masks are however not less stronger, with frustration and fear dominating the father-sons interaction.
The movie is very well acted with Michel Bouquet and Charles Berling giving powerful performances in the principal roles. Although the cinematography is a little banal, the movie is to be remembered for the intensity of the hidden conflicts, well brought to the screen.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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