Mention Clive Owen, and chances are you'll think of that suave personaplaying no less than roguish characters ranging from secret agents towell, erm, the go-to man if you want things done. Like Jackie Chan inThe Spy Next Door, he's about to discover that the biggest challenge ofhis cinematic career is parenting, and in The Boys Are Back, Owen shedshis larger than life, indestructible spy characters for the role ofDad, and a complicated one too in having to reconnect with two boysfrom different marriages.<br><br>Based on the memoirs by Simon Carr, Owen stars as Joe Warr, a Britishsports news reporter now living in Southern Australia with his wifeKaty (Laura Fraser) and son Artie (Nicholas McAnulty). But anunforeseen tragedy forces him to rethink his priorities in life, andfigure out just how to cope with bringing up a kid, having noexperience when he abandoned his ex-wife and his son Harry (GeorgeMacKay) from a previous marriage. So he hatches what he thought was abrilliant plan, and that's to bring Harry to Australia, and together,as a trio, would seek out new adventures in their parent-childrelationship, imposing no rules other than to listen to him whencommanded should the boys get out of hand.<br><br>The opening sequence would give rise to a certain expectation of howthis film would play out, and little would you guess just what thebeach going public was cursing at Joe for. It's this no holds barredgrowing up adventure that elevates this beyond just another movie withmourning and longing, where the protagonists realize that theirunorthodox ways of bonding together, forging strong family ties, isjust as easy and fragile as it is to be torn down.<br><br>Scott Hicks doesn't sugar coat the film with saccharine sweet moments,but instead offers some real pragmatism in what one would expect in ahousehold lacking a woman's touch. And as a male I too abhor householdchores unless it's absolutely necessary, so watching how the artdirection of the Warr household just brought out that smirk that thefilthy pig sty, erm, isn't far off from personal experience.<br><br>But it's not always just about the boys, as the narrative did offer asneak peek into another what if moment, where budding romance withLaura (Emma Booth) was suggested at, though smartly worked on in notallowing it to overshadow the examination of the main relationships inthe film about a father's attempt to connect with his sons, and themwith each other. You'd wish for more given Booth's fine performance asthe divorcée giving out all the right signals, only being frustratedthat they're not acted upon with some degree of sincerity, with thatunfair feeling of always being used.<br><br>For those familiar with what Clive Owen does best in his cinematic,larger than life personae portrayed on film, this role of Joe Warrwould lead you to believe the the actor certainly has dramatic chopsfor more serious, father roles even. With excellent tracks by SigurRos, The Boys Are Back is one film that manages to get under your skinand make you feel very much for the dysfunctional family trying to findits rudder in the confused world they live in.
The Boys Are Back
The Boys Are Back
The Boys Are Back is a confessional tale of fatherhood. It follows a witty, wisecracking, action-oriented sportswriter who, in the wake of his wife's death, finds himself in a sudden, stultifying state of single parenthood. Joe Warr throws himself into the only child-rearing philosophy he thinks has a shot at bringing joy back into their lives: "just says yes." Raising two boys - a curious six year-old and a rebel teen from a previous marriage -- in a household devoid of feminine influence, and with a lack of rules, life becomes exuberant, instinctual, reckless... and on the constant verge of disaster. The three multi-generational boys of the Warr household, father and sons alike, must each find their own way, however tenuous, to grow up.
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