After he’s given us “Where the Truth Lies”, a very mainstream (and outstanding) film, director Atom Egoyan comes back to his artistic roots with a much more cerebral film. This time, one of Canada’s greatest filmmakers deals with technology, communication, bereavement and curiosity about one’s true identity. In short, you either like it (just like me) or you don’t.Without necessarily being the tour de force that it could have been, “Adoration” is a fine character-driven film that needed a little bit more development.
An elegy is a mournful, melancholic or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead. An elegy can also reflect on something that seems strange or mysterious to the author. And so it is with Ben Kingsley as aging lothario David Kepesh, a reflection on the mysterious. The upset of his perfectly ordered life when beautiful Consuela Castillo (Penelope Cruz) comes crashing into it with a tender love causing him to question his shallow existence and opens up a gradual revealing of himself to be vulnerable no longer an impenetrable fortress against the world. This dominos into his fractured relationship with his son, Kenny Kepesh (perfectly restrained acting by Peter Sarsgaard), his best friend George (Dennis Hopper) and his wife Amy (a well-acted cameo by Blondie’s Deborah Harry) carrying him further and further into reflection of the walls he has built.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, but when it comes to testing the acting chops of any thespian, I’d say French cinema is the primary place to go about such measures. No fancy props. No extreme special effects. A lot of close up, careful camera work that relies on the actors knowing how important executing pauses, facial and bodily expressions, and the delivery of their lines are. Of course, beautiful scenery is helpful, and is usually plentiful, whether filming in Paris or in the south of France.