Fantastic movie from Belgium's Dardennes brothers, which takes an everyday scenario - a carpenter taking on a new pupil at a youth centre and rings as much suspense from it as in a Hitchcock film. The natural performances and handheld camera create a sense of immediacy, which is skilfully balanced with the structure of the narrative. The camera frequently uses close-ups or over the shoulder type views of the carpenter and at first we may question what the mans motives are with the boy. Then some new information creates a dramatic turnaround, intensifying the suspense massively to a great finale, which is by then massively touching and satisfying. Superb.
Brilliant slow-burning drama, with an impressive control of both suspense and atmosphere. It leaves a multitude of questions unanswered surrounding the return of an absent father to his two sons and the subsequent, mysterious camping trip he takes them on, but the intensity of the drama really makes such questions seem irrelevant. Beautiful cinematography, and good score capture both the menacing and cruel side of the story as well as the beautiful and touching elements. A remarkable debut film, mixing both Russian influences (Tarkovsky in particular) and western thriller, family drama and rites of passage genres.
One of those films that it's enough to watch the trailer for, the film itself doesn't really add much more! Co-written by Luc Besson, it does an average job of throwing together some sci-fi and Escape From... prison movie cliches. Guy Pearce seems kinda bored, Maggie Grace is pretty, gutsy but bland and only Joseph Gilgun makes any effort as the tattooed Scottish villain Hydell, hence an extra half-star. There are also some special effects in some of the earth scenes that literally look like computer game cut scenes.