The Last of the Crazy People - Le Dernier des Fous a haunting relationship drama played for all its worth
Martin, an introverted ten-year-old lives a quiet life devoid of the love of his mother. Spending her days locked away in her room, the financial running of the family farm has all but landed in the lap of a grandmother with little time to dote on her grandson, given Rose is at her wits'' end trying to avert a ''for sale'' sign being nailed on their door. Spending time instead with kindhearted housekeeper Malika and his increasingly volatile big brother Didier, a tormented poet whose hopes of homosexual bliss with neighbour Raphaël are set to shatter when the love of his life reverts to social conformity, the question beckons just how worse can things get, before someone, somewhere, suffers a mental breakdown with terrifying results.
Vividly capturing the adult world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, writer and director Laurent Achard here delivers a boiling cauldron of cinematic emotions. Only in showcasing his work from the perspective of a boy, we do not get to see the full picture. Rather we only view fragments of the story, by way of Martin having heard things he shouldn''t or witnessed what were meant to be private moments.
As expected the whole cast play this troubled relationship drama for all its worth. And yet whilst some members soon exit stage left, it is upon Julien Cochelin''s shoulders that this feature rests, a tough task for anyone, let alone a child actor faced with the chilling heartbreak of Timothy Findley''s novel of the same name.
The Last of the Crazy People is the first novel of Canadian author Timothy Findley. It was published in 1967, in Britain, and later on in Canada.
The novel tells the story of a well-to-do Ontarian family in the 1960s, whose future becomes uncertain when Jessica (the wife/mother) gives birth to a stillborn and returns home only to become hostile to the rest of the family, and to imprison herself in her own room.
The family is put under even more stress as Gilbert, the elder son, begins to act out in drunken outbursts and questionable behavior in public. The yelling and arguing in the house only helps to reinforce the family''s reputation as ''crazy''.
As the few fine threads holding the family together quickly deteriorate over the summer, Hooker is left mostly in the dark as to why this is happening to them. Left to mostly his own devices, he must come to his own terrifying conclusion as to what must be done about it.