Adoration Review: Internet Geek Goes Rogue
Internet forums are funny things. Everyone’s opinion is definitely the right one and anyone that disagrees is definitely an idiot.
“OMG, no way is Alec the best Baldwin!”, “Sean Connery is the only Bond and anyone who thinks otherwise is a Nazi” etc – you’ve suffered it all before I’m sure.
But the only thing worse than reading reams of cyber spit slinging is watching videos of the posters ranting at you on their webcams.
Director Atom Egoyan’s Adoration makes frequent use of nine-person video conferences to show the after effects of a teenager’s self-made ethical dilemma when it is posted online.
After an old news article about a foiled plane-bomb attack is read in French class, student Simon decides to pull a prank. The story tells of a terrorist who hid a bomb in his pregnant wife’s bag before sending her off on holiday.
Moody teen Simon (Devon Bostick), whose parents died in a car crash, pretends he was the bump in that woman’s belly.
Egged on by his teacher Sabine (the director’s wife Arsinee Khanjian), whose ulterior motives are unveiled as the film goes on, his made-up moral conundrum sparks an internet debate.
And like any high-brow problem posted online it attracts all kinds of annoying students, pompous academics and extremist nuts. Unfortunately they are given too much time to splutter their views, leaving little room for the characters to develop.
The film asks lots of questions about family, truth and identity but never answers the first point viewers might raise with the movie – who on earth pretends their dad was a terrorist?
When an unsatisfactory answer is given near the beginning – “as an exercise” says Simon – the rest of the film seems implausible. Since we never get to really know Simon this “but why?” is never properly addressed.
Scott Speedman gives a good performance as Simon’s down-on-his-luck uncle, but like all the characters remains a bit flat – just a pawn in the thought-provoking plot.
The whole thing feels little more than a hypothetical situation to stir debate and you’re always half expecting the lights to go up and a tweed-suited philosophy professor to pause the tape for class discussion.
In a post 9/11 world there is cause to converse about terrorism, cultural background and beliefs. If they’re entertaining, films are a great place to do it – otherwise best leave it to the forums.