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94 Ratings

Child of God

Directed by James Franco
United States, 2013


Set in mountainous Sevier County, Tennessee, Child of God tells the story of Lester Ballard, a dispossessed, violent man whom the narrator describes as ‘a child of God much like yourself perhaps.’ Ballard’s life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order.

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Child of God Directed by James Franco
Franco, clearly in love with the writing, puts a fragment of the first sentence (“They came like a caravan of carnival folk up through the swales of broomstraw and across the hill in the morning sun…”) on screen as an opening title card. This is our unimaginative introduction to McCarthy-by-way-of-Franco, and a sign of things to come: The filmmakers repeat this tactic a few more times, and divide the film into three sections marked by Roman numerals just as the novel does.
August 13, 2014
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Franco clearly wants to be a provocative artist with the chops to bring major literature to life, but he has no relationship with the camera. Every cut has the same effect as the curtain raising on the next act of a play: here’s some more action, for better or worse. It’s like “Dogville” with the sets filled in; watchably eccentric but rudderless.
August 01, 2014
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There’s an intense visceral quality to these emanations, which are brute, vivid reminders of all the liquid sloshing around inside us (under our thin skins) and that could, at any moment, pour out. This is language that at its most specific and horrifically familiar reverberates in your body and that — as in this admirably tough and unapologetically ugly movie — is an assertion of a deep humanity.
July 31, 2014
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