I would proceed with caution if you struggle with non-linear stories, as this is a film told with no chronological instinct. This is deliberate, of course, as Zeller is clearly a master of the craft on his first attempt at directing. Much respect goes to Yorgos Lamprinos, the film’s editor, who had to piece the puzzle together in a way that could confuse the audience without abandoning them.
For a film that deliberately attempts to disorient, it is far from sloppy. The overwhelming sense of confusion can only be done by people who have a perfect grasp of what they’re doing. The slightest slip might make the film’s gimmick cheap, but the united vision of the filmmakers keeps things ironically and deliciously inconsistent.
I tend to think a second viewing of the film would not be helpful. Unlike other non-linear films, there is no twist that suddenly grants the audience new perspective in the end. No re-edit of the film, I believe, would make it any less chaotic. At times, the film begins a scene, jump cuts to a moment five minutes before, and then leads into where the scene originally began again. I tend to think a second viewing of the film would not be helpful.
Colman is joined in the ensemble by a who’s who of semi-recognizable performers, who almost entirely have the challenging task of playing dual roles. Who the characters truly and literally are is one of the most interesting things to decode, and the tidy script can only somewhat account for this. I would imagine a sizable amount of preparation needed to be done amongst the actors in order to find a few distinctive voices in the film.
Besides Hopkins, Olivia Colman delivers a stirring performance as the old man’s sympathetic daughter who wants nothing more than to ease her father’s suffering. As his memory and perception swings and misses at every turn, her unenviable position as the film’s steady force is made more complicated when Colman is occasionally replaced with another actress playing the role, further bringing the audience into Hopkins’ struggling mind.
I was pretty amazed with ‘The Father,’ a film directed by Florian Zeller and based on his stage play of the same name. It’s a beautifully constructed film and its meticulously crafted depiction of dementia is in equal parts disturbing and mesmerizing. Anthony Hopkins is a rock star in the lead role from start to finish. As a man who is already in deep with the most heartbreaking disease I can imagine, his perspective is the one in which we are lost and not found in the end.
Sam Zavada is a copy editor with The Standard-Speaker in Hazleton. He previously served as the news clerk at The Standard-Speaker, working with the obituaries and the community and lifestyle pages. Sam’s work in print dates back to his time at King’s College, where he spent two years as the editor in chief of the school’s newspaper, The Crown. Earlier in his time with The Crown, he worked as a staff writer and the entertainment manager. Contact him at email@example.com.