'The Whore's Son'
A coolly detached melodrama of mother-child resentment, Michael Sturminger's film sometimes suggests a clear-eyed inversion of a 1940s women's pictureMildred Pierce as told through the eyes of Ann Blyth's ungrateful Vera. Except the movie's sulky child is a Viennese boy, Ozren (played at various stages by three different actors), who accepts that fabulous sexpot mom Silvija (Chulpan Khamatova) goes out every night in spangly miniskirts and furs to sling hashuntil the epithet "whore's son" makes him wonder what Mom's really serving. Once grown, Ozren (Stanislav Lisnic) desperately craves the maternal love his high-class call-girl mother no longer has to giveexcept as wages. The grave comic presence of Miki Manojlovic (from Kusturica's Underground) as Ozren's worldly uncle stabilizes the movie's tantalizingly uncertain tone, at least until its bizarre closing plunge into Oedipal catharsis. But the slicing camerawork of Fassbinder/Haneke collaborator Jurgen Jurges underscores the bitter message: We don't always know what we want from our parents, only what we're not getting.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.