Chronic (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
February 2, 2017 by Dennis Amith
Michel Franco’s “Chronic” is a deep, slow-moving yet thought-provoking film. Recommended.
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DVD TITLE: Chronic
FILM YEAR: 2016
DURATION: 93 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English and Spanish
COMPANY: Lionsgate Entertainment
AVAILABLE ON: February 28, 2017
Directed by Michel Franco
Written by Michel Franco
Produced by Michael Franco, Gina Kwon, Gabriel Ripstein, Moises Zonana
Co-Produced by Amy Greene, David Zonana
Line Producer as Chris Stinson
Cinematography by Yves Cape
Edited by Julio Perez IV
Casting by Matthew Lessall, Susan Shopmaker
Production Design by Matt Luem
Art Direction by Nicolas Kelley, Danielle Laubach
Set Decoration by Madelaine Frezza
Costume Design by Diaz
Tim Roth as David
David Dastmalchian as Bernard
Elizabeth Tulloch as Lidia
Claire van der Boom as Alice
Tate Ellington as Greg
Sarah Sutherland as Nadia Wilson
Michael Cristofer as John
Robin Bartlett as Martha
Joe Santos as Issac Sr.
Laura Niemi as MArgaret
Rachel Pickup as Sarah
Tim Roth gives an astonishing performance in this acclaimed film about a dedicated home-care nurse who finds that he needs his patients as much as they need him.
The critically acclaimed Mexican filmmaker/writer/producer Michel Franco is known for films such as “After Lucia”, “Daniel and Ana” and “A los ojos”.
In 2015, the Franco-Mexican production, “Chronic” starring Tim Roth (“Pulp Fiction”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “Planet of the Apes”, “Reservoir Dogs”) was premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. And Franco would win an award for “Best Screenplay”.
And now, “Chronic” will be released on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate.
“Chronic” revolves around a caretaker named David Wilson (portrayed by Tim Roth), who works with patience in hospice and takes care of terminally ill patients.
The film begins with David following someone in his car and then later we see David taking care of a patient named Sarah (portrayed by Rachel Pickup) who is frail and dying. As David takes care of Sarah (bathing her, helping her being comfortable), we then see him attending her funeral and her sister wanting to talk to him, but David refuses.
When he walks to a bar, he tells a story that he was married to a woman, who passed away due to AIDS. Embellishing his true relationship with Sarah, who was just a patient, not his wife.
We then see David becoming the new caretaker of a stroke victim named John (portrayed by Michael Cristofer) and immediately, he starts pretending he is the brother of John and visiting a couple of luxury homes that John built. But why is David lyig? As he keeps John pre-occupied with architecture and letting him watch porn on a tablet, John’s family becomes concern by the amount of time that David spends wiht John.
In fact, telling other caretakers that he will take their shift in order to take care of John. But because of this, he gis accused of sexual harassment by John’s family and this leads David to face his own family.
And we learn a little of what drives David to be around the terminally ill patients, his relationship with his daughter Nadia (portrayed by Sarah Sutherland) and how David suffers from chronic depression because of actions he took in the past, which have affected his life.
What secrets does David hold within?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Chronic” is presented in 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD and with most of the film shot with no musical score, the film is primarily dialogue-driven.
Subtitles are in English and Spanish.
“Spirit of the Game” comes with the “Behind the Scenes of Chronic” featurette.
Michel Franco’s “Chronic” is a film that tells a story through actions.
While watching the film, one will realize that the film features little dialogue and a storyline that slowly unravels, revealing David’s life as a caretaker and his life outside of work and his love for his daughter. And we learn slowly of why his relationship with his family had been difficult.
As David struggles with guilt from a decision he made in the past, he now suffers from chronic depression and tries to use his time in life to help those in need and that is through being an excellent caretaker. But because he is dedicated to helping those suffering from extreme health problems, while most people would find difficulties in that type of job, he chooses to spend more time with his terminally ill patients.
And of course, his actions are unethical to his job but in his mind, it’s his way of exploring the lives of people who are not in good shape.
The film is no doubt a hybrid of art house and commercial filmmaking, and while I enjoyed the film, I expect many who watch this film and will not be pleased with how the film ended.
Without revealing too much of the plot, while I enjoyed the film’s slow unveiling, there are some moments where the film portrays David as a character that is creepy and one may thing that something is awry with his behavior and that the film could be building to something more sinister or troublesome. But in reality, the film is a character study of David Wilson, his guilt and chronic depression that leads him to do the things he does but viewers are slowly take in to view David’s reality through tough choices that he had to make and struggling to find out if he did the right thing or not.
As for the DVD, picture quality is good, while the film’s audio is primarily dialogue driven. You get a single special feature on the “Behind the Scenes of Chronic”.
Overall, Michel Franco’s “Chronic” is a deep, slow-moving yet thought-provoking film. Recommended.
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