Friday, November 30, 2007

Joshua, a film by George Ratliff (2007)

He may be a sweet looking kid, but appearances are very deceptive when it comes to Joshua Cairn (Jacob Korgan). I guess most kids feel a bit left out when the second child comes along and they are no longer the centre of attention. Joshua just won't let it go: he is one of the most creepily horrible kids I've seen for a long time. Quite an achievement for someone who is only twelve (and playing a nine year old boy).

Since I only went along because Rialto sent me a free ticket, I had no idea what to expect. At first it was like any family drama, with touching moments of bonding when the kid asks his dad (Sam Rockwell) "Do you think I'm weird?" and dad being quick to assure Joshua of how normal he is. This scene echoes somewhat later in the movie, when dad says to Joshua "I think you're sick". Young Joshua doesn't think so, gives a sort of sniff and is sure he's not sick.

It is a battle for control of the household, and Joshua is the undoubted winner. He knows his mum's (Vera Farmiga) weak points (such as finding it unbearable when her daughter cries) and exploits them to the point she needs to be taken away to somewhere quiet. In today's climate where a mere whisper is enough to condemn a father of child abuse, Joshua is in his element.



Blogger owens valley tomatohead said...

Kogan's mother wrote a very interesting article in the New Yorker about life during the shoot of Joshua and during the rather Hollywood promotion of it at Sundance. She was originally a journalist and is now a novelist and is very self conscious about not wanting to appear to be a stage mother. I can see why.

I'm spooked out by reading your review. Don't know if I can bring myself to see the film. Maybe it's because we've got an only boy child of our own. ;)

7:40 PM  

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