The Child

Film

Drama

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Time Out says

Fri Oct 21 2005

Once again exploring life on the margins in unglamorous Liège, the Dardenne brothers prove it’s possible to create a film utterly in keeping with all its predecessors while managing to produce something fresh and quite devastating in its emotional punch. Renier (the son in ‘La Promesse’) returns as Bruno, an irresponsible 20-year-old happily living a hand-to-mouth existence funded by goods stolen by the schoolkids in his gang and by benefits paid out to his 18-year-old girlfriend Sonja (François) – who, when the film starts, has just had their kid. Though almost as reckless as Bruno, she’s unprepared when, unbeknown to her, he arranges for the baby to be illegally adopted in return for quick money… Things can only get worse, but the film is far from hopeless; such is the Dardennes’ unsentimental compassion for these characters that an ending of almost sublime grace and power is assured. En route, they provide a wonderfully evocative, accurate account of life on the streets, their astute observations of telling details beautifully served by performances of enormous subtlety and conviction. Most remarkable, a chase sequence in the final act is as suspenseful as anything ever on offer in a Hollywood action-movie. Absolutely terrific.
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