Monday, January 3, 2011

CHARACTER (1997)

So let me get this straight...director/writer Mike van Diem who's never directed a feature length film before makes this movie, it's excellent and even wins the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film then he follows it up by not making another feature length movie for 14 years now! What the hell is going on? Uwe Boll has unleashed over 20 bowel movements (movies) in that time! The world is fucking unfair. Oh well, I guess we'll never get to see what else van Diem is capable of.

Set in the early 1900's, the boringly-titled CHARACTER tells the story of a stern quiet man who bangs his maid once and they product a baby boy. She leaves before the child is born and the man stalks her and even proposes to her, but she refuses over and over. The child grows up, but the woman is not much of a mother. She rarely speaks and doesn't have a loving nature. Despite this the boy grows into a successful man and even goes to law school. Throughout all of this his father and him have a quiet (and sometimes violent) war of wits going on to shows each other who's the boss.

The characters in CHARACTER are so rich that watching the movie is almost like reading a novel. It's like the darker elements of a Dickens novel come to live. A poor boy with no future rises from the ghetto purely by his intelligence and his intense hatred of his father. And the father who goes out of his way to torture the boy because he thinks it will make him strong.

Excellent performances by everybody, especially Jan Decleir as the assholish father. I'm going to see what else I can find with him in it. And who knows, maybe one of these years Mike van Diem will actually make another movie!