A dispossessed, violent man's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation.
On the first day of shooting, James Franco, David Shields and Caleb Powell throw out the script when a real life argument breaks out between the three of them about what can and can't be ... See full summary »
Set in mountainous Sevier County, Tennessee, Child of God tells the story of Lester Ballard, a dispossessed, violent man whom the narrator describes as "a child of God much like yourself perhaps." Ballard's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation. Written by
Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) is a disturbed man living in the rural mountains of Tennessee in the 60s. His father killed himself and his mother ran away. His father's property is auctioned off and he becomes a recluse. He gets in trouble with Sheriff Fate (Tim Blake Nelson) after he struggled with a drunken woman. He steals and is a general nuisance. He runs across a young couple dead in their car. He has sex with the dead girl and steals her body away.
I think this is the only movie where a character is actually taking a dump. I've got to say that it's disturbing and gross. It sets the tone for the whole movie. Scott Haze is terrific in his performance. The main problem is that the movie is uninvolving. After awhile, Lester's insanity feels repetitive and lifeless. His isolation infiltrates into the movie. This movie needs more time for Sheriff Fate. I also wonder why the sheriff can't put him away longer and how bad the dead body smells. These are the little things that nag at me when the movie stops being compelling. James Franco's directions are workable but they need to energize the plot more.
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