Country: France, USA, Belgium, Mexico
Language: English, Spanish
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Erick Zonca
Cinematography: Philippe Kotlarski
Kate de Castillo
Horacio Garcia Rojas
JULIA is a crime drama directed by French writer/director Erick Zonca, his third feature where the story takes place in both USA and Mexico, follows the downward spiral of a single middle-aged alcoholic Julia Harris (Swinton), who hatches a plan to double-cross Elena (de Castillo), a young mother whom she encounters in the AA meeting, to kidnap her son Tom (Gould), and blackmail his rich grandfather.
Without any accomplices, Julia impetuously implements her criminal activity with the help of a gun and a black mask. Initially, Julia is shown as a complete train wreck, drinking herself into oblivion and sleeping with random guys, utterly self-serving, antipathy is the only thing viewers can project to this character, it reaches the pinnacle when she roughhouses Tom during the kidnap action, as if he is merely a cargo than a human being. Slowly things start to head into the point of no return, the script frustratingly allows the incompetence of police force and a convenient border-crossing plot-device to unconvincingly keep Julia at large, and shifts the locale to Mexico, where the Stockholm syndrome swells up, a mother-son bond becomes apparent, nevertheless, being flirtatious and unsuspecting with a local guy Diego (Bichir), Julia’s negligence puts Tom in the possession of a gang of Mexican kidnappers, this karmic double-cross will cost Julia everything she has to keep herself and Tom alive.
Rambling in almost 2 and a half hours, JULIA is unequivocally too long for its own good, but owing to the fantastic Swinton, who is the error-free backbone of the picture and almost appears in every and each scene, it is gripping enough to keep us hooked to watch her fight her way against all odds. Ms. Swinton is fearless as ever, creates a magnetic persona out of Julia’s own flaws, maternal instinct is a woman’s most puissant weapon, even for the childless Julia, she achieves this enthralling metamorphosis from a disheveled woman who has nothing to cling onto to a fleshed-out protector of an innocent boy. Among her eclectic filmography, this is simply a high water mark acting-wise. In the supporting group, Aidan Gould, who is a shameless empathy provoker for being cute and adorable, while Kate de Castillo in her de-glamorized complexion, excellently inhabits the lunatic mother of Tom, which only makes her sudden disappearance from the story feel somewhat frustrating, is she dead or in hiding? A fairly unwise loose end from the screenwriter’s slack job. Otherwise, the movie is totally worth your time.