Previously at the ICA - Films
26 Aug 2016 – 7 Sep 2016
This dark but compelling dissertation on the making of a dictator centres on adolescent Prescott (magnetic newcomer Tom Sweet). Prescott is ignored and mistreated by his ineffectual mother (Bérénice Bejo) and intolerant, self-absorbed father (Liam Cunningham), an American diplomat tasked with negotiating the Versailles Treaty after World War I. The boy’s escalating tantrums are watched with bemused interest by family friend Charles (Robert Pattinson).
But simmering below the surface is much skulduggery, which processed and channelled by Prescott gradually signposts where it all will end up: in bloody tears. In actor Brady Corbet’s (Force Majeure, Simon Killer) directorial debut, the historical references and implications are neatly handled through newsreels and allusions, and the pacing and performances propel things forwards to a grimly inevitable conclusion, helped along by Scott Walker’s eerie score.
The Childhood of a Leader, dir. Brady Corbet, UK/Hungary/France 2015, 116 mins