Saturday, 16 January 2010

Film Review: JULIA (2008)

Director: Erick Zonca
Running time: 144 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 16th January 2010.


OK, so I’ll admit to being a bit of a fan of Tilda Swinton, she has appeared in some of my favourite movies, always putting in great performances. So it is with much anticipation that I hit ‘Play’ on the remote. I wasn’t disappointed with Tilda, she put in a great performance, as usual, but, as ever, there were other problems that blunted my enjoyment. More of that later, first I’ll give you a quick summary.

Julia is an alcoholic; it seems she can’t go just one day without getting wasted. She loses he job and is forced to go to an AA meeting by her sponsor, Mitch. She hates going to these things because she never bought into the whole ethos of the thing. There she meets her neighbour, Elena, whose eight year old son, Tom, is living with his grandfather because his father died from drug abuse and also because of Elena’s drinking problems. Elena tells Julia of her plan to kidnap Tom and take him to Mexico, where she is from. At first Julia is against it, but when she realises Tom’s grandfather is very rich she changes her tune. But now Julia decides she wants to Kidnap Tom by herself and keep the ransom for herself. She tries to enlist the help of an old friend, and crook, Nick, but he wants nothing to do with it. She does, however, manage to get a gun from another acquaintance, Leon, who she rips off. She finally follows Elena’s plan and kidnaps Tom. Hiding in the desert, she phones the grandfather and arranges the ransom payment. The drop off goes wrong and Julia and Tom end up crossing the border into Mexico where they end up in lawless Tijuana and this is where tings really get out of hand!

A pretty well made film, slightly overlong for my liking, but not a bad effort all in all. I found I could easily engage with Julia’s character and actually cared about what was going to happen to her, even though a lot of the time I felt her troubles were self inflicted. A great performance then from Tilda Swinton as Julia and really good performances from the rest of the leading cast, Saul Rubinek as Mitch, Kate del Castillo as Elena, Aidan Gould as Tom, Jude Ciccolella as Nick, Bruno Bichir as Diego and Horacio Garcia Rojas as Santos.

Although Julia does not have children of her own, you can see a growing relationship developing between her and Tom as they spend more time together. This is brought across very well in the performances of Tilda and Aidan. I was really enjoying the film until the plot took us to Mexico where it kind of jumped off the rails. The storyline became more and more ridiculous and, I’m sorry, but I found I lost all sympathy for Julia right up until the very end where she did redeem herself slightly. Over all, a very good film that could have been a truly great film but for the last quarter.

My score: 6.7/10

IMDb Site:
Official Site: Julia Official Site

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