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Superb film about a dominating paranoid dad and his hardened lonesome kid.
Marc (note nobody has surnames here :)) is a paranoid who believes literally everybody "is after him/ them". He trains his son Noé *(Name!) like an "undercover ninja", in a mix of martial arts, "running from hooded strangers who pursue you relentlessly" (a sport he created), and on permanent suspicion of all, from neighbours to passers-by. The problem is he's also violent, always carries his gun, even does "hit-and-run" with a stranger. He's nuts, but with a gun, and a tank of gas... He's not a bad person (I am thinking of him buying him "the cards kids have" at the mall) but he can't give what he doesn't have...
Music is scarce but effective: You feel afraid, chased, and like a kid in a world where nothing can even turn out right. Like when the kids uses all the martial arts and so to thrash about 4 brats who are after him. Would his dad be happy? Not so, in fact he gets really angry for "now they'll know, the police will come, and we'll have to leave. It's all your fault!" and he bangs the door. No wonder Noé starts screaming, he must, logically, feel: Could I ever do well enough for dad? If you wanted a "morale" it'd be about how our parents educated us through their viewpoint and limitations, and how we should try to see outside this limits, this "Matrix" (Marine's association of Neo couldn't be better). Eric & Sonia, (Marine's parents) make a great family. Supporting, setting limits, having fun. No wonder Noé feels it menacing and wants to flee when they tend their hand... Another thing I liked about this film is that it all takes place at the powerful European middle class. Both Noé and Marine live in normal houses, not in palaces like much of current French cinema. I am thinking about "Repercussions", the TV series "Disparitions" and many others that also take place at provincial mid-sized French town.
This film is all about plot, no beautiful images but for the first of the electricity towers at night. No "nice" people, beautiful literary dialogues that could only be uttered in a writer's fantasy by normal people, no perfect timings. Nothing is nice here. Children's world is very well depicted, you feel immersed into it. Their language, joys, tribulations, duality (they can covet some cards, then want to rape Marine) show they are still kids.
Noé could never be a kid, "it's forbidden". Near the end, after the fire, he shows remarkable maturity when speaking to his dad. But... both Sonia (Marine's mum) and her daughter shows understanding, like when Noé is concerned about his dad, she just replies: "Don't worry about him, he'll do all right". And Marine's dad, Éric... Who wouldn't like to have a dad like him? Caring, intelligent, goes out of his way to protect his daughter in law, suspects Marc is fooling him right away, is the only one that cheers him after his big fight and doesn't scold him for that (even if he's a copper). It makes us sight down here in Latin America, would a cop be on the Law's side, to defend us all? With this comforting thought I leave the reader alone. *(Marc's sternness) Check the windows. Again. Call me each 1 hour. I only want the best for you. You'll never do it without me :)!
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