out of Five
Running time: 100
Typically dense and complex drama from Atom Egoyan that's as satisfying as completing a jigsaw puzzle.
What's it all about?
Written and directed by Atom Egoyan, Adoration stars Egoyan's longtime collaborator Arsinee Khanjian as Sabine, a high school French teacher who gives her class a translation exercise based on a real news story, about a terrorist who plants a bomb in the airline luggage of his pregnant girlfriend. The story has a profound effect on orphaned student Simon (Devon Bostock), who re-imagines the terrorist and his girlfriend as his own father (Noam Jenkins) and mother (Rachel Blanchard) and presents his version of the story to his class.
Encouraged by Sabine, Simon takes his story online and is soon defending his position in internet chatrooms, while using the fictitious tale to explore the truth about his parents' death. Meanwhile, Simon's uncle Tom (Scott Speedman) is concerned about Simon and has a mysterious encounter with an exotic masked woman.
The performances are fantastic, particularly Arsinee Khanjian, who is always a pleasure to watch onscreen – indeed, it's a mystery why she doesn't get offered roles in other movies. Speedman relishes the chance to play something deeper than the slightly dim action men he's played in the past, while Bostock generates terrific tension with his performance, in part because he looks like he might not be entirely stable.
Egoyan's films tend to unfold like richly satisfying puzzles, with fractured chronology, unreliable narrators, multiple time frames and different points of view; they're also deeply concerned with family dynamics and the impact of technology on communication. As such, Adoration is no exception and it's fair to say that if this is your first Egoyan film, you may find it hard to get into.
That said, the climax of the film is genuinely moving and the complex plot's resolution is extremely satisfying, akin to the feeling you get after spending days on a difficult jigsaw puzzle.
Adoration is a superbly written, impressively directed and emotionally engaging drama that's well worth seeking out, whether you're an Egoyan completist or a newcomer.