Julia (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/12/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 138 mins

Gripping, tense and often wildly unpredictable thriller, superbly directed by Erick Zonca and featuring a ferocious central performance from Tilda Swinton.

What's it all about?
Inspired by John Cassavettes' Gloria, Julia stars Tilda Swinton as flame-haired 40-something Julia Harris, a raging alcoholic, whose latest boozing session has just cost her her job. When her ex-boyfriend (Saul Rubinek) convinces her to attend an AA meeting, Julia meets her neighbour, Elena (Kate del Castillo), who convinces her to help her kidnap her nine-year-old son Tom (Aidan Gould) away from his industrialist grandfather, who has forbidden Elena to have contact with him.

However, Julia's motives are not exactly altruistic – not only is she lured by Elena's promise of $50,000, but she also plans to ransom the kid to the grandfather herself. However, after the kidnap goes ahead, things quickly spiral out of control, forcing Julia to make a series of terrible decisions.

The Good
Tilda Swinton delivers a ferocious performance that is nothing short of astonishing – if there were any justice, she'd be a shoo-in for a best actress nomination. What's remarkable is that even though Julia is almost impossible to like (at various points, she points a gun at the kid's head, hog-ties him to a radiator and leaves him in the desert), you can't take your eyes off her and find yourself desperately hoping that maybe she'll come to her senses.

There's also strong support from Aidan Gould, who does a remarkable job of not only keeping up with Swinton but creating a memorable character that kicks against the expected cliches.

The Great
Zonca's direction is assured throughout. One particularly brilliant touch is the way that the film lurches off in a different direction every time Julia sits down to get drunk: we see her walking into a bar and ordering a drink, then suddenly cut to her waking up somewhere else, with no idea where she is.

Worth seeing?
Despite its lengthy running time, Julia is a superbly directed and thoroughly gripping thriller that deserves to be seen for Swinton's powerhouse performance.

Julia has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 10:22

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