Michael (2011) MIFF Film Review


What a horrific concept – yet what does it say about me that I was so intrigued to watch this?  Michael seems like an ordinary guy, but what we know from the start is that, when he is not in his insurance job, he is sharing his life with a ten-year-old boy who he holds captive in his basement. This is the type of story that we are all horrified about when we read about them in the paper, but are compelled to read on.

The film is somewhat distressing not simply for the subject matter, but also the way it seems almost normalised. I would challenge anyone to actually like Michael, but he wasn’t totally unlikable. Whilst this is probably true about the awful men who do these horrific things, it is quite disturbing to see.

Without giving away the ending, I will say there is ambiguity as to what happens at that last moment which I thought was the perfect way to end the film – let each person make up their own mind. This is certainly not a film I’d recommend to my mother, or possibly to any mother, but a very well made film, and I will be keeping my eyes open for more films from this exciting new filmmaker.

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