The third film we will be reviewing from the 59th London Film Festival is Michel Franco’s intriguing and thought-provoking film Chronic.
This is Franco’s third film since 2009, following up from his ‘Prize Un Certain Regard’ winning film After Lucia.
Michael Franco returns to the big screen with Tim Roth being his central protagonist as Chronic showcases his opinions on human nature…
Chronic stars Tim Roth as a nurse who takes of terminally-ill patients even if he invests too much time in doing so. This feature clearly derives from the class of Michael Haneke’s Amour storytelling.
The film is haunting and immediately gives you a sense of emptiness as we watch people coming to the end of their lives even from scene one. The interesting point Franco makes is that it isn’t a patient’s family members that are normally around them at the end; but sadly third party homecare nurses instead. Once again, like his previous picture After Lucia, Franco doesn’t shy away from the controversial issues he likes to tackle on human nature.
The entire film is riveting from start to finish but I do not know why. It might be the absence of a complete soundtrack; it might be the incredible performance by Tim Roth, or even the thought-provoking narrative that attacks your deep concerns for when your own time comes. It asks a lot of questions throughout, like for instance; would you rather choose to die when life becomes a chore? Michel Franco doesn't duck this question as he portrays his beliefs with an intense last ten minutes.
The film is centred on a decision David Wilson (Tim Roth) made by pulling the plug on his terminally-ill son. We only learn this half way through the film so as audience members you play detective. You think he is an unstable pervert for the first act, and then we learn of his past. His choice to be an end-of-life nurse is then justified and understandable with his calm, and at times seemingly cold, demeanour.
At only an hour and a half long, the film still feels incredibly slow but this is more than likely planned. It goes hand-in-hand with the film’s narrative of waiting to die. The switch to this movie is the abrupt ending that you never see coming. Again, is that another nod to what life can offer?
On the whole, it is an interesting film. It is entertaining in a way of it being drastically different. It tells a story of what many people think but do not dare speak. People are scared of morality so Franco leaps on that. And with Tim Roth at the helm as the tough actor he is; it all comes together in a dark but effective way.
Cineroom's Rating: 3 Stars
Chronic will be released on 19th February 2016 in the UK. Certificate 15.
From Adam Ray Palmer, the Editor-in-Chief.
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