Scott Haze

Well Go USA Entertainment

Early on, Child of God signals to you how it’s going to go about its business. Main character Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) abruptly stops his foraging in the woods to pull down his drawers, squat, go to the bathroom and use a stick to wipe his rear. All in plain view of the camera. This movie is going to literally show you shit… and much worse. The story goes on to include sexual assault, murder, the mutilation of corpses, and necrophilia, none of which the audience is spared from witnessing. That right there is likely to tell you whether or not you’ll be at all interested in watching this film. I’ll understand if you lose all interest, though this graphic ugliness comes hand in hand with some truly great artistry. I know it’s a cliche for a critic to praise explicit, difficult work as “artistic.” I doubt that the debate over the value of smashing taboos will ever be settled. The best we can expect is that people become inured to what they previously never dared to look at or talk about, only for new unspeakables to come into vogue. Or maybe we’ll develop into a society without limits. I’d be interested to see what that looked like. But for now, there are certain things that we are conditioned from birth not to talk about or look at too much, and it can be incredibly uncomfortable when an artist forces us to do so (and I think that, the way cinema works, there is an […]

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childofgod_01

If the news that crazy-ass James Franco was going to be adapting one of Cormac McCarthy’s most crazy-ass novels into a movie didn’t pique your interest as soon as it was announced, chances are the teaser trailer for Child of God was enough to grab even your elusive attention. It was basically just a minute of Scott Haze making crazy faces as the story’s murderous subject, the cave-dwelling necrophile Lester Ballard, but it was enough to prove that, even if the movie was a complete disaster, it was likely going to be a perversely enthralling disaster—kind of like how you wouldn’t be able to look away if you came upon a burning bus full of puppies or something. Now that there’s a full trailer out for the film though, it looks like Franco might have resisted the urge to go full-on abstract and impenetrable in his handling of this story about isolation from the order of man’s world. As a matter of fact, this trailer makes Child of God look like it could be a pretty standard thriller about a serial murderer, though one that’s likely elevated due to a clearly electric lead performance from Raze as well as the calming presence of a character acting veteran like Tim Blake Nelson. Click through to give it a watch, but be warned that the footage contains more blood and murder than most full-length films, and this is just a two minute ad. Don’t get squeamish, now.

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childofgod

When James Franco announced that he wanted to write and direct an adaptation of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” most of us scoffed at the idea and said that it was a story that would never make for a good movie. Franco being Franco, he went ahead and did the job anyway, and now he’s got a completed As I Lay Dying film that debuted at Cannes and is scheduled for a limited theatrical release in the US at the end of September. Point for James Franco. Never one to take a break from giving himself challenges, Franco then moved on to adapting another challenging work from another titan of the literary game, Cormac McCarthy’s “Child of God.” If you’re familiar with The Road, which John Hillcoat adapted from another McCarthy work, or even No Country For Old Men, which was the Coen brothers’ take on one of his stories, then you know McCarthy is an author who can go pretty dark and get pretty bleak with his material. Well, if you want to understand the challenge that Franco undertook by making Child of God,  take all that darkness and bleakness in things like The Road and No Country, and then multiply it by about a hundred, because this is probably the most disturbing story featuring the most difficult to relate to character McCarthy has ever written. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to make this one into a movie anyone would want to watch, but now Deadline has […]

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