Atom Egoyan fans will adore this return to form

PUBLISHED: 15:20 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:44 07 September 2010

Adoration (15) Director Atom Egoyan Starring Scott Speedman, Devon Bostick, Arsinee Khanjian, Rachel Blanchard, Noam Jenkins, Kenneth Welsh. 100 mins THREE STAR RATING My first attempt at watching Adoration came to an abrupt halt half an hour in when

Adoration (15)

Director Atom Egoyan

Starring Scott Speedman, Devon Bostick, Arsinee Khanjian, Rachel Blanchard, Noam Jenkins, Kenneth Welsh. 100 mins

THREE STAR RATING

My first attempt at watching Adoration came to an abrupt halt half an hour in when the disc froze up. That's always annoying but this time it was acutely frustrating because the film had dug its claws into me in a way no Atom Egoyan film had in over a decade.

Back in the nineties, Egoyan produced such distinctive, wonderful films as The Adjuster and Exotica but seemed to hit a wall after the Oscar nomination for The Sweet Hereafter. It is said that you should never go back but after a listless unproductive decade the quick realisation that Adoration marks a return to the cool, elliptical, jigsaw style of his early films was a real thrill.

His method is to initially throw the viewer in at maybe four or five different points in the same story and then slowly circle in on how it is all connected. It's art house but with the elements of an intellectual whodunit as the audience try to piece it altogether.

The crux of the movie is a high school student Simon (Bostick) who turns a French translation exercise into a confessional about a foiled attempt by his father to plant a bomb on his pregnant mother and blow up a plane bound for Israel. Except it isn't true.

Around this we see flashbacks to his parents' lives, both real and fictional; Simon filming his grandfather's deathbed memories; Simon's uncle Tom (Speedman) who has raised him since his parents died; the French teacher (Khanjian) encouraging Simon to expand his story and the chatroom reaction to the results.

The acting is very good and the film has a cool detached intelligence. Adoration though is a return to the style but not quite the quality of his earlier work. The situation is intriguing but the eventual revelations aren't particularly convincing. Probably this was always the case, even in the classic Egoyans, but this feels more contrived and melodramatic than before.

Michael Joyce


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