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The Son (2002)

Posted in The Son (2002) on July 12, 2010 by Kanpoj K.

The Son (2002)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

This film is a very simple film. It is set in mostly one building and a couple small area. The film plays with only one single theme of forgiveness. It was shot mostly in long takes with handheld camera movement. It has a continuously tension through out the film. It received many awards. It prove that a good film doesn’t need a big budget and complicated setup. Just a good script and good way to present it is enough.

One thing I didn’t like about the film is the shaking camera technique. They use it a lot in their film to create the realistic documentary-like feeling and tension. However, I found it very annoying and it made me dizzy from the motion sickness. Although, some people don’t have this problem but many do experience it. I don’t mind the shaking camera in wide shots, but this film is shot almost every scene in close-up.

They spend a great time shooting at the back of the characters’ heads in close-up. They say that they want to save the characters’ expression for the important scene and we don’t need to see their face all the time. I agree.

I also like the tension in the film. Through out the film, I am waiting for just one action; waiting for the guy to grab a piece of wood and smashes it at the back of the boy’s head. But he didn’t. The tension comes from many things. The clever use of the setting, the carpentry room, where it’s full of dangerous equipments and materials. The close-up shots and the realistic environment sound without any music score also enhance the tension.

He has a leather belt that he uses for support his injured back. Perhaps, from carries too much weight. He lost his son, his wife left him and going to have a new baby with another guy. The belt looks uncomfortable to him and to the audience as well. It’s another good use of a simple prop to tell story.

Why a carpenter? A carpenter has to be good at mathematics and measurements. The main character is a great carpenter who is good at both. He is very precise, his decisions are never wrong. Talking about mathematic, there is only one answer in every question. If you can get it right, you’re right. There’s no emotions involve in the answer. He is trained to think that way. However, the question is what is a right thing to do in his non-mathematic problem. And once again he does what he thinks it right. He forgives.