The only residents of young Nicholas' sea-side town are women and boys. When he sees a corpse in the ocean one day, he begins to question his existence and surroundings. Why must he, and all the other boys, be hospitalised?
A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.
This chilling fable about the rise of fascism in the 20th Century tells the story of a young American boy living in France in 1918 whose father is working for the US government on the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. What he witnesses helps to mould his beliefs - and we witness the birth of a terrifying ego. Loosely inspired by the early childhood experiences of many of the great dictators of the 20th Century and infused with the same sense of dread as The Others and The Omen, The Childhood of a Leader is an ominous portrait of emerging evil. Written by
Brady Corbet has assimilated many wonderful visual styles which he has picked up over the past several years working with master directors such as Von Trier and Haneke, but this is all Corbet has accomplished. Reappropriating stunning visual film language does not a good director make, because used haphazardly the images lose their ominous, dark tone and are instead replaced with empty somewhat pretentious images that have nothing story or acting wise holding it up. So all we are left is a misfire. While Corbet is similar to another young director, Xavier Dolan, in that they are trapped exercising their personal influences, Dolan has more innate talent. I would say that Corbet's command of the camera at times is promising. The sad part is he has a great skeleton but no meat and few functioning organs. The performances are a bit flat, though they are only working with what they are giving. Bejo is tiresome and Pattinson is...Pattinson. The best scene is in the beginning where the young boy gets in trouble with snowballs, a possible reference to Abel Gance's Napoleon. Corbet like Napoleon is undone by his ambition. But I do wish more directors were this ambitious in their debuts. If nothing else Corbet swung for the fences...and he should know better: nobody does Haneke better than Haneke.
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