Dave White
The Child Review

Dave's Rating:


… heavy, serious …

Who's in It: Jérémie Renier, Déborah François

The Basics: Two young and less-than-morally equipped parents (Renier and François) have a baby. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, the child's father quickly sells the child on the black market. Surprised by his girlfriend's anger over this, he has to get the diapered one back by any means necessary.

What's the Deal? Welcome to the rough-and-tumble directing world of the Dardennes brothers, Belgium's answer to … well, to no one in America really. Their movies are tough-minded, full of swinging cameras and real-time explorations of the mundane stuff of real life (they used to be documentarians, these guys). And if you're willing to go down dark streets with their disenfranchised characters, then you'll be rewarded with lots of redemption metaphors. Yes, you do too need more of that in your life.

Pedigree: This movie won the Palme d'Or in 2005, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. And Renier starred in the directing team's 1996 movie La Promesse.

Who's the Big Baby? Obviously, it could be the baby itself. Or it could be his material-obsessed bio-dad. And more than that, it's every single person who lives in a perpetual adolescent state, even if that mindset is the result of crushing external forces (the backdrop of most Dardennes films is a poverty-ridden, marginal one).

Crime and Punishment: Yes, it's a heavy, serious morality play. But it's also guaranteed to be more satisfying than The Benchwarmers.

Act All Fancy After You See It: Say it reminded you of legendary French director Robert Bresson's movies. But don't do this with someone who knows more about movies than you do. Duh.


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