The Son seems at times like an apprentice carpentry video.The tutor is a man whose face you never fully see or you see it side-on looking at the trainee's work efforts. He's quite tough and exacting but fair.He rejects then seemingly pursues and takes an interest in Francis the young man who's just been released from a penal institution,he says for theft,but there's a lot more to his crime than that. Olivier is a restless,pushy,easily annoyed sort of person.The carpentry seems of a certain standard.It's a bit like watching non professional actors who've got a certain technical competence at what they do and have been given a chance to act.What makes them very watchable is the secret drama that's taking place.There is a brash,energetic delivery to the film which makes it eminently watchable.I found it good but on lower level than Rosetta and The Promise.
Time Out saysOlivier (Gourmet) is a good teacher of carpentry, but a touch gruff; even so, when he refuses to accept young Francis into his workshop, that doesn't explain why he takes to following the boy, as if he were spying on him. Might it have something to do with his own dead son, as his estranged wife insists? One strength of the Dardennes' follow-up to Rosetta, winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or, is that, once again, they ask us to discover certain crucial facts for ourselves: by the time we're faced with questions of ethical and spiritual import, we've done enough groundwork to assess the evidence properly. Wisely, the camera stays close to Gourmet, with the result that, notwithstanding his subtle understatement and a relatively taciturn script, we're privy to his every fleeting thought and nagging emotion. Never manipulative or sensationalist, the film is none the less deeply moving.