A vigilante movie with a difference, In The Name Of The Son is a film with the potential to offend and alienate many viewers. I thought it was pretty great, but it’s undeniably just as discomforting as it is entertaining.
Astrid Whettnall plays Elisabeth, a loving wife, a loving mother to two young boys, and a soothing voice to the listeners who tune in to the radio show that often pairs her up with a priest in order to answer questions from both religious people and non-believers. She has a good answer for many of the questions thrown at her, but finds none available when her life starts to collapse. Her husband dies in an unfortunate accident, but that’s not the worst thing to happen to the family unit. Some time later, Elisabeth finds out about something that forces her to question her trust in those who teach her faith, and she heads out on a quest for vengeance.
In The Name Of The Son would make for a very interesting double bill with Calvary. Both movies tackle the thorny issue of priests abusing their position of power and trust, and not being suitably punished for it, and both movies also take great care to criticise the flaws of an institution, as opposed to any personal faith.
Whettnall is great in the lead role. She may not be Charles Bronson, but she’s just as grimly determined when the time comes to start dealing out her personal brand of justice, even if she has to do it while her son waits outside in the car. The tone of the movie may veer wildly between comedy and drama, but Falardeau remains quite dignified and determined throughout. Philippe Nahon and Achille Ridolfi both do well as two quite different members of the church, and Zacharie Chasseriaud does well enough with his limited screentime.
A hard film to recommend, due to the subject matter and the way it is all handled, but I think that people will get the most out of it if they approach it in the knowledge that it’s a dark DARK comedy. The script, co-written by director Vincent Lannoo alongside Albert Charles and Philippe Falardeau, is fearless in its main aim – to pop the pomposity and hypocrisy of many involved in organised religion with a humour-coated pin – and the direction carries viewers on the journey in a deft manner that signifies just how much thought must have been given to the whole thing.
IF you’re familiar with some of the other films that have made me laugh over the years, and know how warped my sense of humour can be, then give this a go if we’re sometimes on the same wavelength. If you’re wanting something that will challenge your opinions and sensibilities, while also maybe raising a smile, then give this a go. And if you just want to see a Death Wish movie with a very atypical vigilante at the heart of it all then, yes, give this a go.
DIRECTOR: VINCENT LANNOO
WRITER: PHILIPPE FALARDEAU, ALBERT CHARLES, VINCENT LANNOO
STARS: ASTRID WHETTNALL, PHILIPPE NAHON, ACHILLE RIDOLFI, ZACHARIE CHASSERIAUD
RUNTIME: 80 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: BELGIUM, FRANCE