Following Read My Lips (2001), A Prophet (2009) and Rust and Bone (2013), Dheepan is director Jacques Audiard’s fourth film he’s had in TIFF. Once again concentrating on the immigrant experience in France, Dheepan already won the Palme D’or at Cannes, so it’s likely going to be embraced by TIFF audiencse as well, but this reviewer was ultimately disappointed by it.
The film begins in war torn Sri Lanka, where three strangers pose as a family so they can emigrate to the outskirts of Paris. The “father,” a former Tamil warrior, adopts the name Dheepan and becomes a caretaker for a low income tenement building where a different kind of gang war is escalating.
The scenario challenges Dheepan’s pride at every turn and leads to a climax that’s pulled off with great style but is sure to be divisive. It’s a slow burn with Audiard achieving subtle tension in almost every scene, but it unravels in favour of shock and awe. A Prophet remains one of the best films of recent years, and despite Dheepan‘s efforts and accolades, Audiard has yet to make a film that lives up to its promise.
FRI SEP 11 9:00 PM @ Elgin/Winter Garden Theatres Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
SAT SEP 12 8:30 AM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1