Cast : Marc-André GRONDIN
thriller / France, Belgium, Canada / Color / status : completed / French / long feature-film / International catalogue
Ellias Barnès, 30, is the newly-announced artistic director of a famous Parisian fashion house. But as expectations are high, he starts experiencing chest pain. Out of the blue he is called back to Montreal to organise his estranged father’s funeral and discovers that he may have inherited much worse than his father’s weak heart.
After the success of Custody (Venice Silver Lion Best Director and Best Debut awards, 4 César awards, including Best Film), Xavier Legrand deploys his razor sharp techniques of dread and suspense to create a very relatable world while simultaneously building on familiar themes in his work and exploring new terrain.
“This stylish French feature is an unexpectedly aggressive assault on viewer nerves given its intelligent, near-esoteric reach. Highly effective both as a claustropobic thriller and a jarring confrontation of what-makes-a-man. A lot is asked of Marc-Andre Grondin and a lot is delivered. Playing a buttoned-down character giving a very physical performance, the actor suggests every inch of that shredding conflict in his presentation. The central performance from Marc-Andre Grondin seems certain to attract attention. All finessed by a writer-director and technical team who know exactly what they’re doing, from the colour palette to camera work from Nathalie Durang, with a knock-out staging accompanied by composer SebastiAn’s dizzying sonic waves. This is a feature which will travel very well once the ball starts to roll. Part of its attraction is its sharpness, meaning it should play widely within the arthouse market as well as to those who like an electric shock.”
“Cold, controlled French thriller implicates entire patriarchy in the sins of a father. A provocative psychological thriller. Xavier Legrand follows up his Silver Lion-winning debut, Custody, with what seems like a conventional genre picture, though its implications about cycles of violence prove even more unsettling. One of the most damning depictions of patriarchal power imaginable. Whether the film is meant to be seen as an isolated case or a metaphor for a much larger societal problem, the impact is unnerving. Legrand calibrates his films in such a way that there’s a strong genre-movie engine to drive the plot (this one plays like Alfred Hitchcock by way of Ulrich Seidl), but the substance is contained in the subtext: the words that go unspoken between characters, or the actions too difficult to take, and what bungled decisions say about human weakness. The Successor is guaranteed to provoke debate.”