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Explosive Action

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L’Enfant won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, and it’s certainly the Dardennes’ most accessible film. Their handheld camera catches tiny flickers of emotion that few filmmakers come near; you feel as if you’re watching the movements of a soul. Bruno’s final act, which has nothing to do with his own child, is psychologically and poetically right—every act in the film has a mythic resonance. The child is not just the baby, and not just the children Bruno exploits in his thefts; it’s also Bruno himself. All the same, it’s not as if L’Enfant has a great deal of moral complexity. I mean, selling one’s child: Bad. Hiring moppets to rob people: Bad. Learning the meaning of sacrifice: Holy. And wholly predictable, alas.

V for Vendetta
Directed by James Mcteigue. Warner Bros. R.

Inside Man
Directed by Spike Lee. Universal. R.

Thank You for Smoking
Directed by Jason Reitman. Fox Searchlight. R.

L’enfant (The Child)
Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Sony Pictures Classics. R.

E-mail: filmcritic@newyorkmag.com.


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