This film is about identity, love, parenthood, fractured families and the effect the last has on all involved. It depicts the predicament of the new man in a mother's life, illustrating how he performs the father role in all but name, depended upon, even taken for granted by the child, sharing in all the labour and reward of raising the boy and, from the opening scene, it seems, completely accepted. And we also see it from the boy’s point of view, in which Aaron is the interloper in his family, having usurped his father (whose presence is established by regular phone calls), all complicated by Tristan’s own guilt for occasionally preferring Aaron to his father.
|Carrie and Jonas/Homeland|
|Lea, Tristan, Aaron|
Repeatedly offered an ultimatum by Tristan, as their circumstances become more desperate, and the man's situation more precarious, Aaron, like the people who attended the film’s screening cannot conceive that a child would resort to something much more dangerous and violent in order to force a return to the status quo. It's shocking but suddenly, because of the way it's played, also totally credible.
(Stop reading now if you haven't yet seen the movie)
The ending is cleverly ambiguous. At one point, I was reminded of the scene in Before the Fall (Napola) when the character runs out of options and chooses to sacrifice himself. The director realised that such an outcome might prove unpalatable to some audiences (and such it proved at the LFF, where they chose to believe in the innocence and innate goodness of the child despite all evidence to the contrary). We were allowed to come to our own conclusions. We were allowed to hope.
At the time of viewing, Three Peaks had yet to acquire a UK distributor, which is a real shame. It definitely deserves to be seen.