directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Belgium 2002


It was with great anticipation that I prepared my viewing of "The Son" in my Home Theatre. I had considered the Dardenne Brothers two previous efforts as masterpieces of modern cinema. I soon settled into a cerebral mindset with my infant son playing on the floor at my feet. The film started, ran and floated to its eventual conclusion. My initial impressions were that I enjoyed it in the same manner that I had "Rosetta" and "La Promesse". The structure was complimentary: details brought to our attention through inference and action rather than blatant repetitive dialogue. The focus was on the actions, often mundane, of one character who we were to bond, learn about, and voyeuristically view with his simple day-to-day mannerisms of existence. The film climaxed late with a blurted-out confession (much less eviscerating than "La Promesse"). Yes, many areas were duplicated in the Dardenne's previous work... but saying that I was only moderately disappointed in this lack of divergence for "The Son". In the overall acceptance of the film, it did however lack something for me. Whether it was the ability of Olivier Gourmet to carry the film or, what I would more likely surmise, that each piece of the formulated puzzle did not progress in the same manner as I was anticipating. Each scene in "Rosetta", for example, was an important lynchpin in the entire feel of the story. In The Son, I did not find this was the case. Perhaps, like many great cinema achievements this film will grow on me. In fact, I am certain it will. I still recommend it as a great work by two studious and highly detailed auteurs. It did hit me, but perhaps not as hard as I was hoping. I could have had my expectations too stratospheric, but regardless I had about 80% enjoyment and 20% "withdrawal", if that term makes any sense here. Others will surely disagree but I give this film  out of , which only goes to show my extremely high praise for their other two films.

Gary W. Tooze


Theatrical Release: May 23rd, 2002 - Cannes Film Festival, France

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution Artificial Eye  Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:39:12
Video 1.66:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen / 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.67 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Audio French (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)  
Subtitles English, Dutch, Italian, None

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye Company Limited

Aspect Ratio:
Anamorphic widescreen- 1.66:1

DVD Release Date: July 28th, 2003
Transparent Keep Case (2 discs)
Chapters: 18

Edition Details:

  • Interviews with directors Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne - 1.66:1 (31:58) and star Oliver Gourmet 1.33:1 (33:20)
  • Stills gallery (25)
  • Filmographies
  • Theatrical trailers (The Son - 1:32, Rosetta :55, La Promesse 1:11)
  • Interactive menus
  • Scene selection

This is a great DVD from Artificial Eye. The picture is transferred with no digital enhancement, it has a wonderful 2nd disc of Extras, the subs are clear and defined , the menus are available in multiple languages and the audio is perfect. Even the interview sections are chaptered. The graininess of the picture is representative of the fine source print. I don't know what more one might want from a DVD, but this is as close to perfect as I can imagine. out of           

Gary W. Tooze

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Gary Tooze

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