JDIFF 2013 Review – Milo

Milo (Lorcan Bonner) is a 10-year-old boy. He lives a seemingly normal life, except he has a ‘skin condition’, which makes his parents ultra protective of him. Milo longs to live outside his father’s control, but when he finally breaks free, he learns that the life that has been created for him may not be true.

There are some great ideas within Milo, especially those surrounding the nature of control, but the examination of these issues often falls flat throughout the film. At the start of the film, Lorcan Bonner does well as Milo. However, when things get heavy, emotions come to the surface and Milo’s ‘condition’ is revealed, this is where the actor struggles. He has been lied to for his entire life, but he seems to have no strong feeling about this one way or another. Thus, any emotion that could have been created through control and betrayal is left to fizzle away.

The dynamic between Stuart Graham and Laura Vasiliu as Milo’s parents is more interesting, but there is little time given to exploring this. Both commit themselves fully to their characters, but they appear to be two sides of the same coin and thus not fleshed out or developed properly. The same goes for the couple that take Milo in; one wants to exploit the child’s parents for money, the other is so desperate to have a child in her life that she clings to Milo. Neither one is given a chance to explore the reasons for their actions and Jer O’Leary’s Dublin accent is so chewy, it borders on the ridiculous.

There was so much scope for this story to be explored. Instead of the film focusing on Milo and his complete lack of reaction to the fact that he has been lied to all his life, it would have been much more interesting if the central examination had been of control, dominance and fear. Instead, the audience is subjected to chewy accents, unfathomable reactions and a rather technical examination of Milo’s affliction.

Writer/directors Berend Boorsma and Roel Boorsma have created a film whose tone is patchy and veers from horror to comedy, apparently without meaning to. Any moment that could have been used for emotional payoff is blundered and none of the themes introduced are adequately investigated.

Milo could have been truly fascinating if the themes of control and denial had been properly explored. However, by focusing on the child, the film feels emotionally neutral and thin. Most of the characters lack motivation and depth and the film is tonally confused.

Rating: 2/5

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