Cannes Film Festival 2024: The Surfer (Lorcan Finnegan, Official Selection – Out of competition)

Cannes Film Festival 2024: The Surfer (Lorcan Finnegan, Official Selection – Out of competition)
Cannes Film Festival 2024: The Surfer (Lorcan Finnegan, Official Selection – Out of competition)

From Awakening in terror, Australian lands are often the scene of infernal spirals that suck in helpless characters. Coastal variation on this theme, The Surfer takes place entirely on a beach and its adjoining parking lot. Led by a gang of thugs, the local community tries to preserve the “purity” of the place, chasing away unwanted surfers and tourists. However, more is needed to confuse “the surfer” (Nicolas Cage), determined to acquire his childhood home located on a ledge overlooking the ocean. With its faded and sunburned image, the film lists a gallery of weathered and grimacing faces, whose shaky close-ups regularly highlight the contortions.

Distant cousins ​​of the gangsters of Point Break (much less romantic), the “Bay boys” draw a masculinist and crypto-fascist mystique from the ocean and surfing. The bullying and abuse that the group inflicts on the main character constitute, from this perspective, almost an initiation rite. “The surfer” loses one by one his attributes (his car, his phone, his shoes), his dignity and even his moral sense. This program allows the film to multiply more or less happy effects (very accentuated low-angle shots on the character, brutal inserts on the local fauna laughing at their fate, etc.), and allows Cage to exhibit a whole range of haggard faces. and painful looks. In a sense, the surfer follows a narrative trajectory allowing the actor to gradually “unblock” himself, who goes from a good family man to a ragged and whiny creature. A convincing time, this Stations of the Cross in flip-flops ends up losing its way, its energy finding itself tarnished by a relative timidity in the outpourings of violence but also by the scenario, which prevents the character of Nicolas Cage from sinking completely, for make him don the father’s costume again. Too wise, The Surfer makes the storm warning lie.

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