Published Sep 04, 2008Egoyan has pretty much crumbled these last few years and his latest effort in pious windbaggery is no reversal of the trend. Where he once at least made his points clearly, if awkwardly, here hes possessed of a marble-mouthed inarticulacy that suggests hes in over his head.
The centre of the movie is a tragedy where a Lebanese/Canadian boy loses his parents in a car accident, is more or less colonized by his career racist grandfather and unleashes his ambivalence through a terrorist saga he passes off has actual family history.
But Egoyan cant just do this straight, he has to throw in bizarre moralism involving a teacher (Arsinee Khanjian) meddling in the boys life, turn Scott Speedman into his sad sack Russell Banks reject uncle, hit overdrive on the pretentious speechifying and ladle on Brechtian devices so impenetrable that they obscure more than they reveal.
He of course indulges his fetish for technophobia, this time training his steely gaze on the internet and its ability to distort fact and opinion, which might have been fine were it not for its tenuous connection to the narrative its shtick so de rigueur that it no longer registers as honest inquiry.
Every minute of this film is ridiculous, mealy-mouthed and impossible to believe; its all the more tragic for having a real kernel of truth at its core. So determined is Egoyan to make a grand statement rather than explore his themes that vital issues of otherness and cultural imperialism become swamped by silliness and consigned to the trash-heap of hapless souls who wanted to be somebody but should have been more specific in picking who. (Alliance)