2013 / Director. James Franco.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
CHILD OF GOD is the film that no studio would touch. Based on the controversial novel by Cormac McCarthy it tell the story of Lester Ballard, a hermit who lives on the outskirts of a small Tennessee town. Mentally unstable with violent tendencies he spends his days roaming the land, talking to himself and pissing off land owners. His isolated lifestyle sees him descend into a spiral of madness as he turns to murder and necrophilia. James Franco has balls of steel to take on this story and to tell it in such a confronting and explicit way. He gives a proverbial "fuck you" to the big wigs of Hollywood and produced it independently. Doing so gave him the freedom to depict some some truly horrific, abhorrent and extraordinary things. There's no doubt this is a taboo film that will divide viewers down the middle. My own partner couldn't bare to watch some of the incomprehensible scenes of necrophilia and I suspect that many will react similarly. I personally had no problem with any of the film's themes and depictions but I was in a constant state of astonishment. My mind kept ticking over, thinking about how prolific James Franco is becoming. Aside from his acting, since 2005 he has directed 25 films including 10 features, 5 documentaries and a bunch of shorts. He has never compromised his artistic vision and that's obviously a benefit of his status in Hollywood. Scott Haze leads the film and takes up 99% of the screen time. There's barely a frame that he isn't in and his performance is outstanding. He has put everything on the line for this role and commits himself wholeheartedly. Whether it's taking an actual shit on screen or penetrating dead women... his performance is the epitome of brave. We've seen psycho serial killer films galore over the years and they can easily fall in to convention. CHILD OF GOD is a refreshing story, told beautifully and honestly. One terrifying scene recalled some of DERANGED'S most chilling moments and will no doubt resonate strongly with genre fans. This one blew me away. Exceptional stuff. Do see.