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The Son [DVD]

14 customer reviews

Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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The Son [DVD] + The Child (L'enfant) [DVD] + Silence Of Lorna [DVD] [2008]
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Product details

  • Actors: Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart
  • Directors: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • Producers: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, Dutch, Italian
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 28 July 2003
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009Z52J
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,384 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The story of Francis (Morga Marinne) who arrives at a rehabiltation school and discovers a somewhat ambiguous relationship with his teacher (Olivier Gourmet). The two seem inexplicably drawn together until the eventual revelation of a terrible secret from the past.

From the Back Cover

In their first film since the Palme d’Or-winning Rosetta, brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne present a subtle and disquieting study of a man whose life has been devastated by tragedy. Olivier Gourmet won the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his masterfully understated portrayal of a carpenter who teaches teenagers at a rehabilitation school. He is disturbed by the arrival of a new student, Francis (Morgan Marinne), and he struggles to maintain a professional distance in the boy’s presence. An ambiguous relationship develops between the two until the eventual revelation of a terrible secret from the past that binds them together. Utilising their trademark pared-down visual aesthetic to great effect, the Dardennes have crafted a riveting, strikingly powerful film of profound emotional and moral complexity.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David Welsh on 17 April 2006
Format: DVD
This outstanding low-budget film follows a man who teaches teenage boys carpentry in a vocational high school. A new pupil arrives who, unbeknown to the boy himself, has had a profoundly destructive effect on the man's life some years in the past. As a friendship gradually forms between them, both characters must eventually come to terms with their past. The camerawork is fascinating, the acting outstanding and the simple, disturbing plot is utterly compelling. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary with a bit of weight to it, give this film a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 July 2014
Format: DVD
The Son is one of the very best films by the Dardenne brothers, and it goes like an arrow from start to finish. It tells the story of a carpentry teacher who helps to rehabilitate young offenders, who finds himself training the boy who killed his son. (This fact is given early on and is in the product description.) The film is moral in the very best sense, in that it makes you feel the desirability of forgiveness without stinting on the difficulty of giving it. It is never sentimental, and concentrates a lot on physical work, to the point where you sometimes wonder what a sequence is adding to what we already know, but then a seemingly simple question suddenly gives a jolt to the tone. You never quite know what the man may do, or what the boy, Francis, who is about 16, is thinking, but you can't help feeling sorry for him at quite a lot of points, on the evidence of what we've seen. Normally the relationship between the figures could be a father and son, or a teacher and pupil - here Francis asks if he'll be his guardian - and early on you even wonder whether he might have a sexual interest in the boy. Equally he looms over him from behind in the warehouse repeatedly, which could primarily suggest imminent violence, or again could seem a prelude to sexual attack. There is almost no verbal discourse about feelings, yet the circumstances give a riveting sense of intimacy in themselves, even if a very uneasy one. All the nuances of gesture and action build to an unusual degree of resonance, profoundly humanist, and make it one of the most moving films to have appeared since 2000 - in the end the courage of the lead (the superb Olivier Gourmet) is inspiring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER on 9 May 2013
Format: DVD
This is a film from 2002 made in France and originally released as `Le Fils'. It tells the story of Olivier (Olivier Gourmet - great name that) who teaches carpentry at a centre for wayward youths, including young offenders. He has a bad back a failed marriage and a past that still haunts his present day.

Then he is asked to teach a young boy, Francis, who is straight out of the detention centre. He refuses at first, but after reading his file he changes his mind. He clearly has a keen interest in this boy and it is reciprocated by the youth. Then we find out why he is so interested and it becomes a complete game changer.

So is it any good? Well as ever that depends upon the viewer, this is not `art house' it is filmed in real time, no music, minimal lighting and real locations. They even use a steady hand cam for most of the filming. Because of the use of real locations, there is often a feeling approaching claustrophobic and lends itself to docudrama. This is fine as it adds to the realism but from a viewing perspective actually can detract from being engaging. However, this there is a web being spun and the more it is woven the more the intrigue builds. I found myself constantly trying to double guess how it would end and getting it mostly wrong, so that is a good thing.

The acting is all superb and the production is almost unnoticeable as that was what was being aimed for, so nothing to criticise on that front. This will not be for everyone, but has generally received very positive reviews indeed, I would recommend to viewers who are open to European cinema in all its varying shades as this does deal with some `dark' issues.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By technoguy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD
The Son seems at times like an apprentice carpentry video.The tutor is a man whose face you never fully see or you see it side-on looking at the trainee's work efforts.He's quite tough and exacting but fair.He rejects then seemingly pursues and takes an interest in Francis the young man who's just been released from a penal institution,he says for theft,but there's a lot more to his crime than that.Olivier is a restless
pushy,easily annoyed sort of person.The carpentry seems of a certain
standard.It's a bit like watching non professional actors who've got a certain technical competence at what they do and have been given achance to act.What makes them very watchable is the secret drama that's taking place.There is a brash,energetic delivery to the film which makes it eminently watchable.I found Olivier's performance remarkable.The film on a lower level than Rosetta and The Promise in The Dardennes brothers
films.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. James Rousay on 4 Feb. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A film which explores concurrent themes of cruelty and compassion, revenge and forgiveness. It will break your heart. To be watched alone, more than twice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
This movie is absolutely first-rate. Please be aware that elements of the plot are discussed. A carpentry teacher at a vocational training center for troubled teens agrees to take into his class a 16 year old who has spent four years in detention for a serious crime. The teacher is honest and fair, but also withdrawn and emotionless. His young son had been killed and his marriage has crumbled. His wife has divorced him and is remarrying. He lives by himself. From the start he takes an eery, almost obsessive interest in the teen. This isn't much of a spoiler since you learn the following within 30 minutes of the film: The teen was the one who had killed the teacher's son in a botched car break-in four years earlier. The teen doesn't know the teacher is the father or that the teacher knows he killed the son.

There is not a speck of melodrama in the film. Olivier Gourmet who plays the teacher is phenomenal. He's in every scene. He plays the emotionally shipwrecked father with great depth. There are no smiles, no frowns, no anger. You're never quite sure what retribution might happen. The ending is quiet and powerful.

For those interested in the craft of film-making, there are two lengthy, excellent interviews with the Dardenne brothers and with Olivier Gourmet. The DVD transfer is excellent; the subtitles are quite readable. There isn't a great deal of dialogue in the film, so reading the subtitles is no bother.

If you like serious films, this one is a keeper.
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