Tender Son – The Frankenstein Project (Competition), What starts promisingly enough eventually relishes in style over substance, serving as a demo reel for Mundruczó’s talent with the camera more than any ability to craft interesting characters or engaging drama. The film introduces us to a filmmaker who is holding an audition for a few roles in an upcoming film, and a young man shows up for an audition who seems completely uninterested in acting. After the director has deployed his usual tactics for squeezing performances out of non-actors, the boy loses his cool on fellow auditionee, igniting a witch hunt. It’s easy to get absorbed into the set-up, but after the first half-hour, it never delivers beyond, like I said, the occasional bravura cinematography. Some violent scenes littered throughout the running time have an ‘oh damn’ factor, and the filmmaker who was holding the auditions makes a late return to restore hope that we might get to see every character die.
Route Irish (Competition), I’ve had a grudge against Loach ever since the utterly mediocre Wind That Shakes the Barley took home the Palme four years ago, but that cannot be used as an explanation for how completely bored I was by this generic political thriller. Not a single sympathetic character can be found in this shouting match between Mark Womack and everyone else. Having no real drama or catharsis at all, this is just another failed Iraq film that ends up celebrating violence in its misguided ‘critique’ of war.
More Cannes Coverage: