Screened at the Sundance Film Festival, this Australian drama/thriller revolves around an isolated commune consisting of abused women and children.
Commune leader Gregori (Vincent Cassel) has transformed the children into assassins and tragedy strikes when his adopted 11-year-old son Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel) finally refutes his teachings.
The story is seen from Alexander’s perspective and talented child actor Chabriel is astounding in his portrayal of this murderous character. Both the leads deliver powerful performances and work well together as father and son.
The exterior scenes were shot in Eastern Europe and this movie won an award for its outstanding cinematography.
Adversely, the film’s sluggish pace, lack of substance and abrupt ending detract. Ambiguities such as the unexplained reasoning for the assassinations and the unspecified time, place and culture the story is set in also disappoint.
This dark coming-of-age film containing graphic scenes of cold-blooded-murder highlights that children will ultimately distinguish between right and wrong.
Star Rating: ***