French film A Loving Father is a quickly unfolding drama of a young man who kidnaps his famous author father in an effort to battle old demons. At least, I think it's a drama…
That's the basic premise of this film. Sounds like it could be a real suspenseful thriller, right? Or maybe even a wild cross-country road trip kidnapping comedy-of-errors? Well, honestly, I'm not sure what it is, so I think it's safer to just call it a drama. Any mystery behind what happened between father and son is pretty much solved from the very first frames of the film, which begins with flashbacks of father and son and suggestions of something not so pleasant happening between them. So from the start, you pretty much side with the son, even though dad tries to blame son's drug addiction on his behavior. You could predict before son even says it that it's obvious WHY he drowned himself in drugs. Despite the both Depardieus giving good performances, I was never sure how I was supposed to feel. Was I supposed to be frightened for what Paul might do to his father? Was I supposed to be cheering him on knowing dad must have been an evil man? The most emotion came from sister Virginia, who has been wrongly led to believe dad was killed in that accident, and spends the remainder of the movie on the road heading to identify his body. The movie did indeed keep me watching, mostly to find out where exactly this unclear genre of film was taking me. There were really odd pockets of misplaced humor that just didn't fit the tone of this film—unless the language barrier made it hard for me to realize how the actors were actually delivering the lines I was reading, but I don't think so. There was even an odd moment, coming completely out of nowhere, where it appears Virginia sees a ghost!!! And in all honesty, although not totally predictable plot wise, the resolution of the film was predictable in the sense that my initial impressions of all the characters were kept perfectly intact, so I don't feel like this movie took me on any great journey to unexpected places.