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Michael: A portrait of the bland monster next door

A scene from the thriller "Michael"

TIFF

3 out of 4 stars

Country
USA
Language
English

Directed by Markus Schleinzer (Austria)

First time director Markus Schleinzer, a long-time casting director for Michael Haneke, takes us to a place where few people want to go. The title character is a 35-year-old bachelor insurance agent who has an abducted 10-year-old boy locked up in the basement of his suburban house. Meticulously made, with sharp thriller jolts, the film goes to pains to demonstrate the oddly "normal," almost parental, aspects of the man's relationship to the boy: They watch TV together, do jigsaw puzzles and even have an occasional outing. Dreadful as the subject matter is, the authenticity of the performances and the skill of Schleinzer's filmmaking are difficult to deny in this portrait of a monster as the bland guy next door.

Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m., Lightbox 2; Sept. 15, 10 p.m., Scotiabank 2; Sept. 18, 4:30 p.m., AMC 6

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About the Author
Film critic

Liam Lacey is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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