UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Courtesy of Téléfilm Canada

Adoration

A new film by Canadian director Atom Egoyan reveals the fault lines of fear in our post-9/11 consciousness

By Drew Halfnight

Adoration
Directed by Atom Egoyan; starring Scott Speedman, Devon Bostick, Rachel Blanchard and Kenneth Welsh
(Téléfilm Canada)

In Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s complex and searching new drama Adoration, a traumatized family revisits its past, revealing, among other things, the fault lines of fear and victimhood that tremble in the post-9/11 consciousness.

Asked to translate an article about an attempted airplane bombing for French class, young Simon (Devon Bostick) impresses classmates and others with the revelation that he is the orphaned son of the terrorist identified in the article. The boy’s story becomes an online sensation as everyone from neo-Nazis to 9/11 survivors logs onto the Internet to have a say.

Meanwhile, Tom (Scott Speedman), Simon’s uncle and guardian, struggles with the legacy of intolerance and bigotry that his late father left behind. In two remarkable scenes, an interloper wearing a black burka confronts Tom as he decorates his suburban home for Christmas. In evocative fashion, the woman forces Tom's deep-seated intolerance to the surface before disarming him and helping him find forgiveness.

Less successful and a touch contrived are parts of the film riffing on technology (some scenes unfold through cell phones and desktop cameras). Lengthy online chat sessions yield some hammy discourse on terror, complete with hit-you-over-the-head lines (“I am the guy who is speaking for the dead!” shrieks the 9/11 survivor) set to the 1980s pop tune Dear God, an unfortunate intrusion on the film’s otherwise exquisite violin score by Mychael Danna.

Egoyan fans will appreciate Adoration. It’s the kind of meandering suspense flick — intelligent, sensuous, brooding — that has earned him darling status in Canadian cinema. It continues his trademark obsession with trauma, imagining characters who, cracked by tragedy and consumed by phantom terrors, cannot decide if they are the victims or the agents of their own misfortunes.


Author's photo
Drew Halfnight is a father, journalist and high school teacher in Toronto.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image
Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Faith

January 2018

In the beginning

by Alanna Mitchell

The award-winning science writer travels to northern Australia to explore the world's oldest creation story

Society

January 2018

The good death

by Pieta Woolley

Anglican professor Donald Grayston made dying in peace a lifetime project. His example is inspiring others to plan a meaningful exit.

Faith

January 2018

Me, Dad and the Almighty

by Anne Bayin

A preacher’s kid pretended to be a devout daughter, but secretly she felt lost in a wilderness of doubt.

Society

January 2018

The good death

by Pieta Woolley

Anglican professor Donald Grayston made dying in peace a lifetime project. His example is inspiring others to plan a meaningful exit.

Faith

January 2018

In the beginning

by Alanna Mitchell

The award-winning science writer travels to northern Australia to explore the world's oldest creation story

Faith

January 2018

Me, Dad and the Almighty

by Anne Bayin

A preacher’s kid pretended to be a devout daughter, but secretly she felt lost in a wilderness of doubt.

Promotional Image