The Tall Man
Director: Pascal Laugier
Writer: Pascal Laugier
Cast: Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, Stephen McHattie, William B. Davis, Samantha Ferris, Colleen Wheeler, Eve Harlow
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Julia (Jessica Biel) is the nurse in a small mining town that is slowly dying. There is barely any work and the continuous disappearance of children is also eroding the moral and social structure. According to town legend, it’s the Tall Man who takes the kids. Julia seems doubtful about that legend – but then her own child is taken. But Julia won’t give up and starts the slow unraveling of the events in the town.
The movie starts off absolutely great: it’s tense and scary and woah. But then the plot twists start and as soon as that happens, the tension goes out of the film and I just wanted to roll my eyes.
The movie just tries way too hard to surprise the audience – which it accomplishes only partly (that Julia’s husband was involved in the whole thing was absolutely obvious to me from the moment he was first mentioned). But the surprises it achieves mostly come at the cost of logic and suspense of disbelief.
Basically, what’s revealed is that Julia’s son isn’t actually her son, but one of the kidnapped children, kidnapped back by his mother. And there’s no Tall Man, but Julia and her husband have been working for an organisation that saves children from their poor background from all over the world by stealing them and placing them with rich families.
Which is just, no. Really, no. Apart from the fact that I just couldn’t believe at all that an organisation like that would exist in the world, the moral of it is just so damn screwed. (Plus, children wouldn’t just forget their parents that way.) The movie’s ending does call this behavior into question, but calling it into question is just not good enough. This organisation and the people working for it are fucked up and some doubt is just too light.
But apart from that, Jessica Biel is fantastic. She rarely gets to show that she can act and she gets to do the full spectrum here. And the soundtrack was awesomely creepy. I just wish that they had finished the movie they started, instead of swerving off into loony territory with their plot twists.
Summarising: if (but only if) you are able to go along with the plot twists, I guess you’ll enjoy it.