It is a flawed film with a kind heart, but a significantly less impressive progeny of The Father's talky triumph. Like father, like son? Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case.
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The Son is too suffocated by the severity of its writing and the sterility of its environments for the film’s characters to grow beyond the scenarios they represent.
This is Jackman’s movie. He makes Peter’s helplessness intensely moving as he keeps trying, against mounting odds and false breakthroughs, to communicate with a child who remains out of reach. Sadly, that goes for The Son, as much as the son.
Classy but curiously empty, The Son may be a spiritual sequel to The Father, but it’s not its equal.
The Son, though perhaps not as original and accomplished as The Father, is nevertheless an affecting, empathetic and intelligent drama.
There’s enough humanity from the story and performers alike that cuts to the soul and mostly offsets the uninspired direction. But “The Son” should shine at least a little brighter through the dark material given these participants and their previous triumphs.
The Son is a laceratingly painful drama, an incrementally increased agony without anaesthetic.
I watching The Son play out, this family’s tragedy becomes our own, and Zeller’s warning becomes impossible to ignore.
Where “The Father” was subtle and twisty, this drama is more agitated and restless, even melodramatic at times – but that’s a directorial decision that certainly fits the dark and troubling subject that the film explores but doesn’t exploit.
It’s undeniably powerful stuff, but a more straightforward piece of storytelling, lacking the slippery, shape-shifting quality of his debut.