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:: The Lost Son

This is contemporary film noir, with sobering subject matter. Set in London and seen through the eyes of a French private detective, Xavier Lombard (Daniel Auteuil). This is Auteuil's English language debut and he gives a commanding performance as the disillusioned yet intensely likable hero. Nastassja Kinski also gives an admirable performance as the distrustful wife of Lombard's friend. Chris Menges directorial skills take us from hectic, sombre London to the vast emptiness of the Mexican desert. He explores a exceedingly dark, often ignored subject and pulls no punches while doing it.

Lombard is approached by an old friend Carlos (Ciaran Hinds), who takes him to meet his wife Deborah (Nastassja Kinski), and her wealthy parents, Mr. and Mrs. Spitz. They hire Lombard to find their son, 30 yr. old Leon Spitz who has disappeared. The disappearance is not an uncommon occurrence as Leon has a chequered past. Lombard perceives the case to be simple and easy money. However as he investigates further, he is drawn into a sinister child pornography ring and soon realizes that the stakes are much higher than first anticipated and the people involved will stop at nothing to prevent being exposed. Lombard is a loner with a secret past and very few friends. One of them being the beautiful Nathalie (Marianne Denicort), a French prostitute who helps him to infiltrate the ring. Denicort provides a touching performance as a working girl looking for a way out. Meanwhile Deborah (Kinski), who doesn't trust Lombard and accuses him of taking advantage of her parents, tries to delve into his past. While investigating, he meets Emily (Katrin Cartlidge); a close friend of Leon's who paints a very different picture of him. She develops a kinship with Lombard as they are of similar backgrounds. She has been entrusted with a young boy, Shiva who is a victim of the paedophile ring. Cartildge's portrayal as a simple yet wary woman highlights the social gap between her and Leon Spitz family. In order to find Leon and infiltrate the ring, Lombard has to pose as a potential customer, something that upsets him to no end.

The movie explores the darkest parts of the human psyche. Lombard has to test his limits of psychological and physical endurance as he comes to terms with the situation and his own soul. The Lost Son is well written with stellar performances from Auteuil and the leading females, Kinski, Denicort and Cartlidge. It doesn't attempt to mask the often-seedy nature of the story and its intended message. The Lost Son is highly recommended.