In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
When Chook goes back to the car (at the end), sunlight can be seen through his hair on both sides of his head from behind, indicating that his face is in full sun. The following shot from the front shows half his face in shadow. See more »
Superb acting from Hugo Weaving, of a totally repulsive and frightening individual.
It takes a lot of guts to push for truth to character rather than going for the easy way out, softening the edges. In this film Hugo Weaving's character has been so severely scarred by life that he has become a total sociopath, with no capacity for empathy, let alone love. It would have been easier for Weaving to have softened him a bit, shown signs that really deep down he did love his son. But that would not have been this guy, who is as hard as nails and totally self-concerned. Even when takes his son camping, it is all about himself, recapturing the few happy times in his youth. When his son makes that picture shake, his reaction is vicious. All this makes it a hard film to watch, in the same league as some other Australian films like "The Boys".
Matching Weaving step for step, Tom Russell's portrayal of the wary boy wishing his father would show him some affection but fearing the worst, is brilliant. Never overdone or mawkish, showing extraordinary subtlety and maturity for one so young.
Finally, the ending is suitably enigmatic, leaving us with questions about what really happened, and what might now.
A brilliant film, but if you like feel-good with a happy ending, don't go to this one.
14 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?