MOVIE REVIEW: Chronic

Director: Michel Franco
Writer: Michel Franco
Stars: Tim Roth, Bitsie Tulloch, Maribeth Monroe

Tim Roth stars in this drama about a Nurse who deals with Chronically and terminally ill patients.  He deals with his own personal problems through helping these patients who are going through the worst time of their lives.  As we travel through his life we learn what drives him.

I’m going to tell you that this score is based on the quality of the work here.  I’ll understand that most other people will find this a very hard watch, its subtle and the pace is slow, but all in the best possible way for a movie to be.  There could have been a tonne of extra plot points and dialogue but it would have ruined the overall feel of the film.  20 years ago this month my Father died from Cancer and I can let you know that the realism here is off the charts.  When a drama can add as many realistic moments in the film as this one does it gives you a severe kick in the feelings and doesn’t stop.  Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve loved someone who has gone through the horrible end of an illness, then you will have a hard time watching this.  Some films are hard to watch because they are just bad movies, this is hard to watch because it is just one of the best dramas that we’ve had over the last few years.

Tim Roth stars and the whole film rests with his performance, he’s one of those actors that even if the film that he is in isn’t great he’s still always on top of his game.  He plays David, one of those angels who stay with terminally ill people through their painful final days/weeks/months making sure they are taken care of and kept in the best possible mental and physical shape they can be until they transition.  The personal bond that these nurses develop with their charges is shown in such a tender and honest way that you start to feel a little uneasy, strangely, while watching the care being given.  As the film progresses we learn a bit more about David’s past, the struggle he went through with his own family.

At the start of the film you get the feeling that David is being a little bit of creep, seemingly stalking a girl, but we learn that his caring nature is just in effect.  When his first patient dies and he moves on to an elderly man who has been left in a permanent state of being unable to care for himself there is a misunderstanding which seems to force David to face his past.

Going back to his old life and starting another job with a patient with incurable cancer leads David to confront his biggest demon.  We find out that David helped a member of his own family transition when it became clear that there would be no cure and no relief.  His journey to repair the damage that he left behind is welcomed by his family.  But the new patient asks a hard question of him when she finds out that there is no hope for her life.  The ending of the film is slightly strange, but in some ways the most logical way to end the film, but it will knock you out of what you think is going to happen.

Michael Franco writes and directs this film with a tenderness and reality that brings you through the illnesses and the nurses that stick through the hardest times of people’s lives.  They do this for little money and maximum emotional investment.  It’s a very subtle story and as I said before it won’t be for everyone.  For me this is a film that I don’t know if I could watch time and time again, but I would insist that you all watch this film.  It brings emotions that we need to realise are in us and some that we’ll probably have to go through in our own lives.  Worth catching but make sure you bring some Kleenex with you, this one will grasp at your heartstrings.

 

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