28th Apr2014

‘Child of God’ DVD Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Scott Haze, James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Parrack, Fallon Goodson, Vince Jolivette, Jeremy Ambler, Nina Ljeti, Brian Lally, Ciera Parrack, Boyd Smith, Wade Williams  | Written by James Franco, Vince Jolivette | Directed by James Franco

Child-of-God

Do not mistake Child of God for being a film on a religious topic. It follows Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) who, after a rough childhood, now lives on his own in the forest after being rejected by society. Living by his own rules, Lester is almost feral, his crimes slowly getting worse and more depraved  as the film progresses and we follow his life as a man outside of society, and out on his own,

Having never read the book of the same name, written by Cormac McCarthy, I cannot say how closely the film stays true to it. So let’s just say that there is a book and you can check it out if you want. The film, directed by James Franco, is definitely a good study in feral insanity, and Scott Haze seems like the perfect man to portray it. He acts his part so well, with a thick Texan drawl, he is almost incomprehensible at times, most times in fact. Along with this, his feral screams at the world and general drooling, muck-covered wild man act had me wondering at times if they had just locked him in a dark cage for a few years and prodded him with sticks just in preparation for this role.

Child of God is very dark and graphic, showing the true depths of Lester’s disturbed mind. If the films aim was to make its audience uncomfortable then it achieved it superbly, not holding back on scenes which involve Lester committing acts of murder and necrophilia.  One problem I found with the film was that the style it was shown, as if in chapters from a book (probably THE book), did make the story hard to follow. It was almost split into separate mini-stories from throughout Lester’s life which are only loosely linked to each other by the fact that Lester is the main character in them.  That being said, there was a clear theme of the escalation of Lester’s crimes throughout the film.

Although Child of God shows crazy and revolting in its purest of forms, I must say it did keep me watching until the end, no matter how much I was squirming in my seat. It is definitely not a film to watch on a date or with the in-laws, but it definitely is an intriguing watch, and a very well performed one too.

Child of God is out now on DVD from Signature Entertainment.

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