Adoration (2008) Poster

Adoration (2008)

  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 1,964 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 15 April 2009 (France)
  • Runtime: 101 min | USA:100 min | France:100 min
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Adoration (2008)

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  • IMDb page: Adoration (2008)
  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 1,964 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 15 April 2009 (France)
  • Runtime: 101 min | USA:100 min | France:100 min
  • Filming Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Budget: $4,700,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $293,614(USA)(11 October 2009)
  • Director: Atom Egoyan
  • Stars: Devon Bostick, Rachel Blanchard and Louca Tassone
  • Original Music By: Mychael Danna   
  • Plot Keyword: Controversy | French Class | Student | Internet | High School

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Atom Egoyan  written by

Known Trivia

    Goofs: Continuity: When Sabine arrives at the door, it is gently snowing and her black coat has some snow on it. Once she enters the house (a different set, her coat no longer has snow on it and the rate of snow, as seen through the window behind her, is at a much faster rate.

    Plot: For his French-class assignment, a high school student weaves his family history in a news story involving terrorism, and goes on to invite an Internet audience in on the resulting controversy.  »

    Story: For his French-class assignment, a high school student weaves his family history in a news story involving terrorism, and goes on to invite an Internet audience in on the resulting controversy.

    Synopsis

    Synopsis: Simon is a young orphan being raised under the care of his uncle Tom. The early scenes of the film show him filming his conversation in the hospital with his dying grandfather. Through the eyes of Simon we see the grandfather as a caring, wise man, while through the perspective of his uncle we see the racist, backwards side. Simon’s grandfather hated Simon’s father and claims that he intended to kill Simon’s mother in the car crash when, as Simon finds out at the film’s conclusion, he had an eye condition. This condition prevented him from being able to drive at night, as the glare from oncoming headlights would blind him. The evening of the car crash reveals a different side of the story, causing the memories of each character to meet head on, connecting disparate stories of each character to unite in an Egoyanesque conclusion.

    Simon’s family narrative is cleverly knit into a news story presented to Simon by his high school French teacher as a translation exercise. An article is read by the teacher about an attempted bombing of an aircraft by a man who put explosives in his pregnant wife’s luggage. Simon gets the idea to translate the story and write it from the perspective of the child in the woman’s womb. The teacher encourages Simon to develop his story as a drama exercise, however Simon presents it to the class and to the world via the Internet as if he really was that child. The teacher’s silence, as we find out later, is owing to her relationship with Simon’s late father who died, with his mother, in a car crash when he was still a child. The narrative of the car crash and the attempted bombing of the plane become intertwined as a way for the characters to deal with their past experiences, which they have all been trying to deny.

    The film is about a search for identity in a digital age where the truth is oftentimes irrelevant. Simon’s story of his suicide bomber father is met on the Internet with sympathy, anger, and even support as we see a skinhead on webcam telling Simon that his father was a hero. The alienation experienced by Simon in relation to the world-wide response he receives to this made-up story ultimately serves as a mechanism that forces him to turn away from his computer and video screen to face the actual issues he experienced as a child. Simon’s story takes a twist that involves all the other characters in his life, everyone’s narrative culminating in the piecing together of a fragmented past that needed to be re-examined in order for those in the present to be healed and re-connect with the people in their lives.

     

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Atom Egoyan known as producer
    • Marcy Gerstein known as associate producer
    • Robert Lantos known as executive producer
    • Laurent Pétin known as executive producer
    • Michèle Pétin known as executive producer (as Michele Halberstadt)
    • Stephen Traynor known as line producer
    • Simone Urdl known as producer
    • Jennifer Weiss known as producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Devon Bostick known as Simon
    • Rachel Blanchard known as Rachel
    • Louca Tassone known as Young Simon
    • Kenneth Welsh known as Morris
    • Yuval Daniel known as Security Agent
    • Scott Speedman known as Tom
    • Jeremy Wright known as Delivery Guy
    • Arsinée Khanjian known as Sabine
    • Noam Jenkins known as Sami
    • Thomas Hauff known as Nick
    • Martin Roach known as Car Owner
    • Ieva Lucs known as Berating Woman
    • Katie Boland known as Hannah
    • Hailee Sisera known as Jennifer
    • Lia Bellefontaine known as Student On-Line
    • Jermaine Crooks known as Student On-Line
    • Hannah Fogel known as Student On-Line
    • Celeste Howard known as Student On-Line
    • Jamie McMillan known as Student On-Line
    • Yunus Mohamed known as Student On-Line
    • Nariné Martiros-Gharakhanian known as Student On-Line
    • Victor Nhan known as Student On-Line
    • Tristan Parlette known as Student On-Line
    • Lucas Paulino known as Student On-Line
    • June Rogers known as Student On-Line
    • Kevin Tung known as Student On-Line
    • Jack Blum known as Passenger & Professor On-Line
    • Maury Chaykin known as Passenger & Professor On-Line
    • Sharon Corder known as Passenger & Professor On-Line
    • Vera Frenkel known as Passenger & Professor On-Libe
    • Marc Glassman known as Passenger & Professor On-Line
    • Shel Goldstein known as Passenger & Professor On-Line
    • Paul Soles known as Passenger & Professor On-Line
    • Janice Stein known as Passenger & Professor On-Line
    • Geraldine O'Rawe known as Carole
    • Duane Murray known as Parking Security
    • Dominic Cuzzocrea known as Taxi Driver (as Domenic Cuzzocrea)
    • Tony Nardi known as School Principal
    • Aaron Poole known as Daniel
    • Soo Garay known as Granddaughter
    • Bathsheba Garnett known as Holocaust Survivor
    • Michael Barry known as Skinhead
    • Ron Bell known as Bus Driver

    ..

     

    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Suzanne Benoit known as makeup department head
    • Peggy Kyriakidou known as assistant hair stylist
    • Zinka Shankland known as hair stylist
    • Ava Stone known as makeup artist

    Art Department:

    • Elizabeth Bailey known as custom artwork
    • Craig Boland known as set dresser
    • Dave Bracken known as construction coordinator
    • Adam Brockie known as scenic painter
    • David Gonzales known as first assistant art director
    • Michael Harvey known as on-set carpenter
    • Rob Hepburn known as sets buyer
    • Jason Herriott known as key scenic
    • Jessie Hutchins known as set dresser
    • Jordan Kerner known as lead set dresser
    • Mauro Lacaprara known as assistant property master
    • Sylvia Lange known as scenic painter
    • Stephen J. MacDougall known as set dresser (as Stephen MacDougall)
    • Kim Maticiw known as props buyer
    • Aaron Morrison known as second assistant art director
    • Eric Nufer known as assistant head carpenter
    • Alicia Remigio known as art department apprentice
    • Kenny Roy known as head painter (as Ken Roy)
    • Steve Stack known as on-set dresser (as Steven Stack)
    • Craig Tovell known as head carpenter
    • Paul Vernon known as property master
    • Steve Vero known as custom artwork
    • Susan Worts known as props buyer

    ..

     

    Company

    Production Companies:

    • Serendipity Point Films (presents)
    • ARP Sélection (presents)
    • Ego Film Arts (co-production)
    • The Film Farm (in association with)
    • Téléfilm Canada (produced with the participation of)
    • Movie Network, The (TMN) (produced with the participation of)
    • Super Écran (produced with the participation of)
    • Astral Media (produced with the participation of)
    • Movie Central (produced with the participation of)
    • Corus Entertainment (produced with the participation of)
    • Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) (produced with the participation of)
    • Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) (produced with the participation of)
    • Adoration Productions

    Other Companies:

    • Agency 71  poster design
    • Aver Media  interim financing
    • DeLuxe Toronto  video post-production
    • En Route Catering  catering
    • Entertainment Partners Canada  payroll services (as EP Canada)
    • Film Finances Canada  completion bond
    • Footsteps Post-Production Sound  foley recording facility
    • Francont Film  negative cutting
    • Jane Rogers Casting  background casting
    • Kodak Canada  film stock
    • Kudlow & McCann  production auditor
    • Multimedia Risk Consultants and Insurance Brokers  production insurance (as Multimedia Risk)
    • Panavision  camera equipment
    • Rights Company, The  script and title research services
    • S.L. Feldman & Associates  music clearances
    • Stargrazing  craft service
    • Theatre D Digital  editing and sound mixing facility
    • Trackworks Inc.  sound editing services (as Trackworks)
    • William F. White International  production equipment (as William F. White Toronto)

    Distributors:

    • ARP Sélection (2009) (France) (theatrical)
    • E1 Entertainment (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
    • Lev Films (2008) (Israel) (theatrical)
    • Maximum Film Distribution (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
    • New Wave Pictures (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
    • Palador Pictures (2008) (India) (theatrical)
    • Paradiso Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
    • Sony Pictures Classics (2008) (Australia) (theatrical)
    • Sony Pictures Classics (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
    • Sony Pictures Releasing (2009) (Brazil) (theatrical)
    • X Verleih AG (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
    • E1 Entertainment (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
    • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2009) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
    • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
    • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    • Sony Pictures Releasing (2009) (Argentina) (all media)
    • Warner Home Video (2009) (Germany) (DVD)

    ..

     

    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • Rocket Science VFX (visual effects)

    Visual Effects by:

    • Ian Britton known as compositor: Rocket Science VFX
    • Robert Crowther known as visual effects supervisor: Rocket Science VFX
    • Hojin Park known as compositor: Rocket Science VFX (as Hojin Parks)
    • Thomas Turnbull known as visual effects producer: Rocket Science VFX (as Tom Turnbull)
    • Megumi Kanazawa known as digital compositor (uncredited)

    Release Date:

    • France 22 May 2008 (Cannes Film Festival) (premiere)
    • Canada 8 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
    • Canada 13 September 2008 (Atlantic Film Festival)
    • Canada 19 September 2008 (Cinefest Sudbury)
    • Germany 27 September 2008 (Hamburg Film Festival)
    • Brazil 3 October 2008 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
    • Canada 6 October 2008 (Vancouver International Film Festival)
    • Belgium 10 October 2008 (Gent International Film Festival)
    • Poland 13 October 2008 (Warsaw International FilmFest)
    • Brazil 17 October 2008 (São Paulo International Film Festival)
    • UK 20 October 2008 (London Film Festival)
    • Spain 31 October 2008 (Valladolid Film Festival)
    • Hong Kong 26 March 2009 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)
    • Czech Republic 27 March 2009 (Febio Film Festival)
    • Turkey 12 April 2009 (Istanbul Film Festival)
    • France 15 April 2009
    • Canada 24 April 2009
    • USA 25 April 2009 (San Francisco International Film Festival)
    • USA 8 May 2009 (limited)
    • Germany 21 May 2009
    • South Africa 12 June 2009
    • Netherlands 25 June 2009
    • Greece 26 October 2009 (Panorama of European Cinema)
    • Argentina 11 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Brazil 2 December 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • UK 29 January 2010 (limited)

    MPAA: Rated R for language

    ..

     
     

    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .

    10 Comments

    1. larry-411 from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      "Adoration" is, at its heart, a coming-of-age story. It's about thattime of self-discovery when the question "who am I?" becomes anobsession. But what makes this film so startlingly refreshing is thatit also has a classic structure rarely seen in contemporary cinema. Theviewer is never quite sure whether or not the images on screen are realor imagined. Think of a chess game where each move prompts you toreplay the entire game in your head. Such is the experience of watching"Adoration," brilliantly conceived and executed bywriter/director/co-producer Atom Egoyan.

      Egoyan is a legend in his adopted country of Canada with dozens ofawards and nominations to his credit (1997's "The Sweet Hereafter"earned him Oscar noms for writing and directing). The mere mention ofhis name widens the eyes of citizens north of the border, as I learnedhere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where I attended thefilm's North American Premiere (it debuted at Cannes, where it wasnominated for the prestigious Palm D'Or). Locals hold him to a veryhigh standard. For me, I prefer going in cold, knowing as little aspossible about a film. Similarly, I won't reveal much about the storyhere.

      After losing his parents under questionable circumstances, Simon (DevonBostick) is reluctantly being raised by his Uncle Tom (Scott Speedman).Simon's memories of his mother Rachel (Rachel Blanchard), anaccomplished violinist, and father Sami (Noam Jenkins) are shrouded inmystery. Enter Simon's teacher Sabine (Arsinée Khanjian), who might beable to help Simon unlock the secrets that are the key to his youthfulconfusion. What follows is a brain teaser which takes greatconcentration. The wheels are always turning, and the viewer isconstantly challenged to figure out exactly what is real or perceived,and by whom.

      The look of the film enhances the mystery inherent in the story. Theuse of single-point lighting allows shadows to fall uponalready-obscure settings. Music is essential to the plot and, as such,Rachel's violin virtuosity is extended to a string soundtrack that isas haunting as the film itself. Paul Sarossy's cinematography iscleverly integrated with composer Mychael Danna's soundtrack, withtracking shots set to music as a visual ballet. Editor Susan Shiptonhad a tall order working with Egoyan to craft a virtual puzzle in whichnothing is at it seems.

      Speedman ably plays the father figure who isn't quite ready to take onthe task of raising a teen but does so out of loyalty to his latesister. Khanjian's Sabine is simply chilling and central to the powerof the film. Blanchard is a joy to watch — simply an angel on screen(and shot that way, to boot) — and Jenkins successfully remains anenigmatic personality throughout. But, most of all, this is Bostick'sfilm to carry on his young shoulders. Appearing in almost every scene,it's his curiosity and angst which drive "Adoration," and it's ourempathy for him (weren't we all Simon once?) that gives the film itsheart and soul. Bostick is one of Canada's most prolific young actors(he co-starred in Citizen Duane, one of my Top Picks from the 2006festival) and will hopefully be introduced to a wider audience if thisfilm gets the distribution it deserves.

      The moment the credits began to roll I wanted to see "Adoration" again.If there were back-to-back screenings I would have remained in my seat.This is the first film in recent memory which has had that effect onme. There's nothing more exciting and intriguing than a film that playswith space and time, where perception matters more than anything else.What we see on screen vs. what is in our heads — the spaces we fillwith our own thoughts — are artfully juggled by Egoyan and the resultis simply a masterpiece.

    2. Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      Atom Egoyan's Adoration weaves a complex tale of a young man searchingfor the truth about his family by perpetuating a lie in order towitness its consequences. Simon (Devon Bostick), a young high schoolstudent, tells his class that his Lebanese father Sami (Noam Jenkins)was a terrorist who attempted to blow up a plane with a bomb carried byhis pregnant wife, Rachel (Rachel Blanchard), a talented violinist. Inhis presentation to the class, Simon says that he is the unborn child,his mother was the innocent being led to her demise, and his father wasthe killer out to murder 400 innocent people to promote a cause. Theonly problem with the story is that it is not true. The incident neverhappened. The film exposes the ease with which people are willing toaccept what they are told without question and how modern technologyhas become a useful tool for those eager to disseminate falsehood.

      According to the director, the film is "about people dealing withabsences. He (Simon) imagines having a father who is a demon; he wantsto go as far as possible into what that might mean." Adoration beginswith an indelible image – a young woman standing at the end of a pieroverlooking a river playing the violin while her husband and young sonwatch in awe. Moving forward and backward in time with great ease, thefilm slowly constructs the events which have led to Simon's schoolconfessional. The key player is Simon's French teacher Sabine (ArsinéeKhanjian) whose own family was killed in Lebanon by a terrorist attack.Sabine reads an article to the class about an incident that occurred in1986 in which a Jordanian man, Nezar Hindawi, sent his pregnant Irishgirlfriend on an El Al flight with a bomb in her handbag, of which shehad no knowledge until it was discovered by Israeli airport security.

      Heavily influenced by his bigoted grandfather Morris (Kenneth Walsh) tobelieve that his father intentionally caused his mother's death in acar crash, the vulnerable Simon constructs a parallel between thearticle read by his French teacher and the death of his parents. On hisown, Simon posts his fake story on the Internet and has to deal withemotional responses from holocaust victims, holocaust deniers,students, and professors talking about terrorism, martyrdom, andheroism. It is a discussion that often sinks to the level ofvictimization as portrayed by veteran actor Maury Chaykin who blamesthe bogus airplane incident for "ruining" his life. Simon's uncle, Tom(Scott Speedman), who raised the boy after his parents' death, acts asa mediator between his nephew and the teacher who encourages Simon totell his fake story in the school auditorium.

      Tom is a tow truck operator with a short fuse who harbors a deepresentment against his father for the way he was treated as a child andhis encounters with Sabine contain some of the film's most intensemoments. Aided by a tenderly evocative violin-prominent soundtrack byMychael Danna, Adoration is an intelligent and imaginative study offamily conflict and reconciliation that serves as a compelling probeinto human behavior and the ability to distinguish between fact andfiction. Though it contains a great deal of ambiguity and charactermotivations tend to be somewhat mystifying, Adoration is a veryinvolving film with performances that are uniformly excellent,particularly Arsinee Khanjian as the emotionally-damaged teacher andSpeedman and Bostock who provide enough tension to keep us rivetedthroughout.

    3. ametaphysicalshark from prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      I'm never going to be the most unbiased observer when it comes to anygiven Atom Egoyan movie. He is one of my favorite directors andcertainly one of the best Canadian directors currently working, and Ihave enjoyed every one of his films, even the much derided "Where theTruth Lies", which I found to be a tremendously entertaining genrepiece.

      Still, I was concerned when news of the uninspiring critical responsefrom Cannes came in, and even more concerned when I noticed that thefilm received several extremely negative reviews, some of them fromcritics whose tastes match mine. Having now seen "Adoration" at CIFFI'm not going to pretend I can't see where they're coming from- thefilm is a little preachy, there's bits of acting which are poor,there's a weakness to Egoyan's writing in that he seems to want totouch on every possible viewpoint on the issues being explored herewithin this running time, and occasionally it comes off as a littledesperate.

      None of that keeps "Adoration" from being an intensely involving film,and a powerful one as well; a film about prejudices, loss, the power oftechnology, and the effect of fiction on reality and vice versa willalways be topical, but given the actual plot of the film it isparticularly relevant to today's world. "Adoration" revolves aroundSimon (played by Devon Bostick), an orphaned teenager born to aPalestinian father and a white, North American mother, who both died ina car accident when he was a child, and was raised afterwards by hisuncle Tom (played brilliantly by Scott Speedman). When Simon writes astory about a terrorist who conceals a bomb inside his pregnantgirlfriend's luggage before she boards a plane to Israel and imagineshimself as the unborn child that is almost killed by the terrorist bomb(a story which has parallels to his racist and intolerant grandfather'sversion of the story of how Simon's parents died), his drama and Frenchteacher encourages him to share it with his class, passing it off astruth. What she didn't predict was that Simon would post the storyonline, creating crazed debates and political agendas. The storydoesn't revolve around these discussions, but rather develops fromthere into a character drama which grows in quality as the film movesforward.

      Egoyan does not necessarily hit a home run every time when it comes tohis work as a director, but he has never shown incompetence or lack ofability and doesn't do so here. Egoyan's writing, on the other hand, isfar more inconsistent and likely to cause issues. As mentioned earlierhis writing here is somewhat problematic, but not nearly as bad ascertain critics would have you believe. For one, "Adoration" oftenreminded me of discussion groups I have attended on Islamist terrorism,and the dialogue here, criticized for being artificial and even'ridiculous' is very true to the sort of dialogue you would get out ofa group interested in the topic. The only thing lacking, actually,during the chatroom scenes, was a Muslim voice, which would have onlyadded to the dynamic and realism. Also, as heavy-handed as certainsections are here (though "Crash" makes this film look like thesubtlest ever made, so it's not that bad), it's also a film which has alot to say about human nature and our natural response to theenvironment we live in and to those surrounding us.

      "Adoration" is an effective and intelligent look at topical andrelevant issues, but really shines as an examination of the nature ofhuman thought, the results of the sort of environment which surroundsus, where hatred and prejudice is born, and ultimately as a characterstudy of three individuals who all need to overcome events in theirpast by embracing and fully understanding them.

      8/10

    4. David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      A teenager (Devon Bostick) who was orphaned after the tragic deaths ofhis parents is prompted by his teacher (Arsinee Khanjian) to deliver afictional monologue about his father's failed terrorist act as fact inan elaborate "dramatic exercise" in Armenian-Canadian auteur AtomEgoyan's latest thought-provoking piece of abstraction "Adoration". Asthe fiction spins out of control over the internet, the true motives ofthose involved in the lie are revealed and back-stories come collapsingin on each other in Egoyan's signature elliptical style.

      Egoyan, as always, gives patient viewers plenty to chew on. Like theyoung man's monologue that marries a true story to a false one abouthis parents, "Adoration" itself is an interesting dramatic experimentdesigned to provoke. It tackles many issues including the motives ofterrorists, fractured familial relationships, the hollowness of allegedconnections made through modern technology and the dangers of thinkingthose connections can replace real face-to-face human interaction.Though I always question Egoyan's motive in casting his wife ArsineeKhanjian in his films, in many ways, she gives her most understated andpowerful performance here. Bostick does a decent job with a tough role,though Rachel Blanchard is curiously flat in the flashbacks as hismother. The true revelation is Scott Speedman as the troubled tow-truckdriver who reluctantly steps in to raise his sister's son after shedies. His story arc proves to be the most involving, though one wisheshis background had been more developed.

      The bizarre detour into sleazy mediocrity with "Where the Truth Lies"seems to have made Egoyan a little rusty as he returns to a morefamiliar form here for those who have been watching the arc of hiscareer. The elliptical folding in of the converging plot lines seemsclumsier in "Adoration" than it did in his earlier works, and the "bigreveal" comes a few scenes too early and sucks out the emotionalimpact. Unlike "Exotica" which had the swagger of a young auteur at thetop of his game, or "The Sweet Hereafter" which came from the sublimesource material of novelist Russell Banks, "Adoration" representsEgoyan bruised from years of wear left to his own devices. Thoughcompelling, he gets the best of himself and let's the ideas take overthe characters. He also relies far too much on visuals ofnon-characters in chat rooms or of people being recorded with cameras.However, Egoyan scores when Mychael Danna lends his musicalcompositions. The frequent collaborator does a magnificent job creatinga haunting score with a recurring violin motif that plays integral toone of the back-stories.

      Back in the late 1990's Atom Egoyan was in a league of his own andmaster of his own style. In the past ten years, however, internationalcinema has seen the emergence of filmmakers like Mexico's AlejandroGonzalez Inarritu ("Amores Perros", "21 Grams" and "Babel") andGermany's Fa-tih Akin (whose superb "The Edge of Heaven" deserved abigger audience stateside last year). They often tackle similar themesin an elliptical Egoyanesque manner. But because their films arepresented on a larger scale and infused with a certain energy andimmediacy, Egoyan's films, in all their isolated scholarly austerity,have been unfairly left out in the cold. "Adoration" may not beEgoyan's best, but it proves he still has some good ideas in him and heisn't ready to be dismissed just yet.

    5. Bob Taylor (bob998@sympatico.ca) from Canada
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      When I saw The Sweet Hereafter years ago, I thought Atom Egoyan was oneof the greatest directors alive, and the subsequent films haven'treally shaken that belief. If Adoration is not up to the standard ofhis best work, it is still well worth seeing. The story is one ofterrible loss and forgiveness, and the acting is superb. We areconnecting the dots–from racist grandfather to despairing mother to anorphan teenager (played by the excellent Devon Bostick) with big issuesaround truth and responsibility. The boy's uncle has a lot of issueshimself; we can see that being a tow-truck driver is gnawing at hissoul (made me think of Repo Man). Scott Speedman as the uncle is reallygood, he's hiding behind a beard, giving curt responses to ArsinéeKhanjian's questions.

      A problem: lots of use of internet chat rooms to flesh out the story;disembodied, undramatic characters for Simon to interact with (watchfor the great Maury Chaykin to heat things up somewhat). Technology isnot a launching pad for art, it's just information retrieval or angermanagement.

    6. gradyharp from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      Atom Egoyan, an Armenian born in Cairo in 1960 and living and workingin Canada, is a unique voice among contemporary filmmakers. His filmsrarely follow a linear structure, electing instead to rely onflashbacks and flash forwards to alert the viewer to respondemotionally to the fragments of story provided – those fragmentsemphasizing his obsession with alienation and isolation, theby-products of a society homogenized by technology, bureaucracy, andmob rule. His films have collected a wide audience of viewers whoprefer to be intellectually challenged rather than be 'entertained':'Next of Kin', 'Speaking Parts', 'The Adjuster', 'The Sweet Hereafter','Felicia's Journey', 'Ararat', 'Where the Truth Lies', 'Chloe', andthis little masterpiece, 'ADORATION'.

      Young Simon (Devon Bostick) is enthralled with the Internet andcreating videos to place on the Internet. His parents died in anautomobile accident years ago and he has been raised by his uncle Tom(Scott Speedman), a angry young man who has never married and whoseonly other family member living is his father Nick (Thomas Hauff) forwhom he has little affection. Simon tends to his ill grandfather,videotapes him telling stories about his daughter, Simon's motherRachel (Rachel Blanchard), swearing that Simon's father Sami (NoamJenkins) intentionally caused the fatal accident, not unlike aterrorist action. At school Simon takes French from teacher Sabine(Arsinée Khanjian) who encourages Simon's penchant for drama byencouraging a story Simon has created: he postulates that Sami placedexplosives in Rachel's bag while pregnant Rachel flew to Israel withthe intention of exploding the airplane killing 400 people. Simon takeshis developing tale to the Internet chat rooms where the story thenleaks out to the parents of the teenagers chatting. The 'news' resultsin Sabine being fired from her job. Sabine visits Simon and Tom's housedisguised by an elegant burka, and encounters the angry Tom who hadalready had a previous encounter with Sabine over a towed car. Theintensity of the make-believe story of Sami being a terrorist createshavoc in the town, between Tom and Simon, and with Simon's relationshipto his grandfather. There is a surprise twist to the true background ofSimon's parents, Sabine, Tom, and the grandfather and Simon's fictional'play' opens doors of emotional reaction from Simon's internet chatroomexperience and from all of the people involved in the story.

      While this 'summary' of the plot is confusing to read, so is theprogress of the tale Atom Egoyan has filmed. He intensifies the dramawith moments of utter beauty and shared love as well as condemnationsfrom the people who are adversely affected by Simon's concocted 'lie',a falsity perpetrated by his 'accomplice' Sabine. Keeping the actionlevel low, accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful music for solo celloand solo violin by Mychael Danna, and enhanced by the tightcinematography of Paul Sarossy, only makes this little film that muchmore powerful to observe and digest. As with all of Egoyan's films, itis the afterburn that lingers in the mind of the viewer that drives thepower of the work home.

      Grady Harp

    7. laika-lives from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      Like almost all of Atom Egoyan's movies, 'Adoration' isself-consciously exploratory, gently tracing the boundaries andpressure points that exist between characters in a manner that asksresonant, sometimes troubling questions about wider political issueswithout needing to generalise from the specifics. Egoyan doesn'tuniversalise, he doesn't simplify. He may be the least glib film-makerout there.

      I was lucky enough to see him speak about this film after it screenedat the London Film Festival. He was asked a question about thepolitical content of the film; rather than claim that the film isn'tpolitical, as I have heard other artists do when confronted with thisquestion about their work, he responded that the politics in the filmare entirely located within the family – a refreshingly nuancedresponse.

      He is also far more willing to risk losing an audience than almost anyother director, pushing dramatic situations into absurdism oruncomfortable comedy, or outright confounding ambiguity, when it wouldbe easier and more surefire to go for more conventional dramaticeffects, like irony, or poignancy. For instance, the entire encounterbetween Arsinee Khanjian and Scott Speedman's characters, in whichpainful confession and angry confrontation are tempered by the awkwardfarce of the taxi-ride and invitation to lunch, the unsettling comedyof the confrontation with the taxi-driver, and, most opaquely, theutterly meaningless and consequence-free coincidence of Simon passinghis uncle in a bus, and them failing to see each other.

      Most impressive of all, I think, is the balance this film strikesbetween intellectual engagement and emotional detachment. After thescreening, I told my partner that I'd found it moving, and he expressedsurprise, as he valued the lack of sentimentality, almost thedispassion, of the film. Reflecting on it, I realised that when I usedthe word 'moved', I was using it to express a feeling separate frombeing emotionally invested in the characters in a film (as in, say,'Mysterious Skin' or 'Magnolia', both of which sent me off into cryingjags). Egoyan's films (with the exception of 'The Sweet Hereafter',which is heartbreaking and cathartic and, as it happens, my favouritefilm bar none) almost seem to displace my emotional investment into thestructure of the movie, similar to the way music engages the listener -or, perhaps, more unusually, they displace it onto the ideasthemselves; ideas like the psychology of martyrdom, the instantnarrativisation of internet discourse and its consequences, the elusiveboundaries of personal responsibility (a recurring concern in Egoyan'sfilms), the conciliatory and revelatory aspects of art, and all theother stuff this movie left buzzing round in my head. If you'll bearwith me, I think what I'm saying is that I feel a kind of emotionaltopography of ideas in Egoyan's movies, a recognition that intellectualframeworks and emotional responses aren't detached in people's lives;the characters, the structure and the brainfood are all connected, insync; you aren't manipulated into crying, but you may just feel yourheart aching all the same.

    8. Rodrigo Amaro (rodrigo882008@hotmail.com) from São Paulo, Brazil
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      Atom Egoyan's film "Adoration" is a complex and emotional story abouthow little lies can be dangerous and how the truth always will triumphat the end but with a little bit of pain. In this thrilling storyalmost like an emotional and frantic time bomb waiting to explodeEgoyan present us conflicted characters trying to figure out how todeal with their emotions, losses, their concepts of truth and lies,understanding and love. To the audience it is a spider's web not veryeasy to follow where you always keep asking more and more questionsabout how this story is gonna end.

      In the story Simon (Devon Bostick) is a teenage boy who during a schooltask is asked by his French and Drama teacher Sabine (Arsinée Khanjian)to add intensity to its Drama exercise and present to the class as ifall the things he was reading was true. Notice: it was lesson about aterrorist couple who exploded themselves in a airplane and Simonpretends to be the son of this couple. All that he says looks like thetruth, he shocks the whole class and makes the teacher very impressedbut it's not. He lives with his uncle Tom (Scott Speedman) a hardworking guy with many financial problems; and Simon's parents died in acar crash and he not knows too many things about them.

      The story gets dark when suddenly Simon shares his fake story in a chatroom sort of like if he was testing people's reactions about the storyof the poor boy whose fathers died in a terrorist attack. This part ofthe film gets totally unconvincingly specially when Simon talks toother teenagers and we see their opinions, very annoying. Once againnot a real deal of what teenagers really think and act, very phony.

      If you look closer you will notice that Simon almost doesn't replies tothe other people, letting themselves talk what they want, mostlybecause he knows his parents past is not true, but he wanted to knowhow bad he could felt if people said bad things about his mother andfather. But he gets that experience with his dying grandfather (KennethWelsh) who didn't liked Simon's father (Noam Jenkins) an Arab. Evenwith that he stays the same, trying to figure out who their parentswere and the story behind the violin, one of the most precioustreasures they left for him.

      Egoyan chooses to tell this story in a very non-linear way, pretty muchlike a puzzle with many missing pieces and in the end you'll get a verybeautiful picture. This is very important, having the story presentedin a linear way it would spoil the whole mystery behind everything.Although some connections are forced, situations seems veryunbelievable and non convincing at all and the audience has to swallowit down if you think in another way thinking that it's just a film andthings like that doesn't happen in real life you'll enjoy it.

      "Adoration" is also enjoyable for the excellent performances of thecasting. Arsinée Khanjian is wonderful playing the teacher and themysterious woman who visits Simon's house dressed as Arab. My onlyreservation comes to the acting of the main lead actor. I think thatDevon Bostick was a good and a bad choice for the role of Simon. Goodbecause a more famous young actor would be too distractive to play thisrole. And bad because I found him dead on scene, with lack ofexpression (although he's cute), but that might be because the scriptwanted a young guy with few emotional response. Speedman surprised me alot with a strong dramatical role, and the few scenes of veteranKenneth Welsh are excellent and the way his character's behavior turnsfrom a dedicate grandfather to an hateful person is shocking. Brilliantstudy of character but not much believable. 8/10

    9. janschbern from Canada
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      There is not much to say about this convoluted story. Its based on areal event. It relies on lots of talk and minimal action. Atom Egoyanhad full control in making this film, from writing to direction. Themain pluses are the performances of the principal three of theprincipal actors. The main negative is the questionable use of"technology", particularly of teenage chat rooms, of older people chatrooms, of video cell phones and so on – the focus of these internet &tech based products is to present talking heads by other means. Thereis also a violin, which is the one major non-tech focus of the story.

      There is no doubt that this film has potential. It has the making of acompelling plot, given its built in twists, turns and periodicsurprises. Could it have been presented in a more exciting and directway? Maybe not given budget considerations, which are so obvious.

      At an early point, the movie takes on that feeling of seeming to go onand on and on. But, there is an interesting, underlying story. AndEgoyan is a skilled and always worthwhile filmmaker. So, one persistswatching, with some judicious use of occasional fast forwarding of theDVD (particularly the seemingly endless, ridiculous multi-channelcomputer talkfests). The film has craft and is a serious endeavour. Butin the end, it is boring. And boring is boring.

    10. Metal Angel Ehrler from Honduras
      30 Mar 2012, 9:46 pm

      Atom Egoyan's latest feat, "Adoration", features among Egoyan's mostprofound work, and it is also one of the best independent orunderground films you can rent this year. Now, you might be wonderinghow I can call a film by Atom Egoyan 'underground', when he's one ofthe most renowned directors in the world. It's precisely the samequestion I asked a fellow critic of mine who recommended it, and nowthat I've seen it, I have the answer: It features a large cast of'unknowns' (with the possible exception of Scott Speedman), a largecrew of unknowns, it features a small budget, it's artsy…but most ofall, it aspires and tries to be overwhelming at its impact andappealing to the masses, and it fails to be either at the end. Not eventhe seal of recognition from the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 savedthis film from being on a short release during the winter of 2009 andfrom finally emerging on DVD, at the end of the same year.

      But please, bear with me. The film deals with a teenager called Simon(Devon Bostick) who's written a fictional monologue where his fatherleft his pregnant mother on a plane and hid a bomb on her carry-on bag,which is discovered by the authorities and which foils his plans ofterrorism. Prompted by Sabine, his French teacher (Arsinée Khanjian),he makes his classmates believe the story is true, and publishes it onan Internet chat room which makes thousands of bloggers go crazy on thesubjects of terrorism, victims, love, recognition, the value of life,etc…all of that, prompted by his story. Simon is scared to find outhow much of his fictional story is true, since for some reason it has afamiliar ring with some images of his past. So he decides to make avideo diary where he films the bloggers who heatedly comment on hisstory, and who provide him with the necessary 'mind fuel' to deductwhether his father actually WAS an assassin, whether his mother was hisvictim, whether his grandfather (Kenneth Welsh) polluted their memoryand whether his uncle (Scott Speedman) is hiding something.

      I know, it sounds like a complicated storyline…and it is. There areinfinite separate plots (each character has ulterior motives, anagenda, and a haunting past which establishes their presentpersonalities), and the film is given to us in puzzle pieces, with theseparate scenes jumping from present, to future to past…to imaginarypresent, future and past…all of this to a point where you won'tunderstand a thing you see on screen if you're not fully concentrated.I was, thankfully, and I found it easy to keep up with so many plotlines, and as the film progressed and I discovered more details andsecrets every second, I felt my heart pounding and my palms sweatingfrom the tension and the heavy drama on screen. THAT'S where the filmis genius; on the way it uses an intelligent and complicated plotperfectly, and on how it reaches over to the audience.

      The film IS good, it is very very good, actually, but it tries toexceed its own potential, giving way to a large amount of unfinishedplot twists, undeveloped characters and confusing situations. Storiesbegin to fit in together, resolutions are being taken, and by the endof the film the principal characters have all found catharsis in theirown way…but what about the infinite number of other characters thefilm presents? They're all left behind, with no completion whatsoever.SO many topics that were effectively handled and most of them weren'tdeveloped! The main characters (Simon, the French teacher, the uncle,the grandfather and the parents) have incredible depth, and halfwaythrough the film you're convinced that this might just be THE deepestand most intelligent film of the decade…but soon after that, the filmis over and only the superficial plot lines where resolved, only thesurface of the characters came full circle. It's one of those movieswhere the credits start rolling and you say "It's over?! But what aboutthe…", then you start making so any questions, and you start comingup with so many answers, all of them giving birth to morequestions…until you have no idea what you're even coming up with.

      Perhaps this was Egoyan's point, to keep us thinking and thinking untilour thoughts seem to have detached from the film itself; it's a goodthing to do- to have your public ponder so much- but it's bad when itaffects the movie. Like I said, it tries to overreach, it goesliterally everywhere with so much plot that OBVIOUSLY there are goingto be mistakes and plot lines will be left unsolved. But even throughthese flaws, the film delivers interesting messages, it gives us acouple of memorable characters and a story (however complicated it maybe) that entertains and envelops the viewer. And even if the balance ofthe film slowly shattered at the end, for most of the duration it wasmaintained, giving the viewer a very rewarding hour and forty minutesof viewing experience.

      If you love artsy, independent films- see it. If you're tired ofmainstream Hollywood brainless flicks and want something new- see it.If you love Atom Egoyan or are planning to introduce him into yourcinema knowledge- see it. If you're expecting to see a paramount inindependent cinema that transcends our expectations on the seventh art-skip it. This is very good, but not great. Nevertheless, I stillrecommend it.

      Rating: 3 stars out of 4!

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