Based on the novel written in English by best-selling author Tatiana de Rosnay, François Favrat’s Boomerang has a solid performance from Laurent Lafitte of the Comédie Française as Antoine, the angst-ridden, divorced father of two who is trying to solve the riddle of his mother’s accidental death when he was a young boy. But elsewhere Boomerang is a run-of-the-mill, low-key family drama and one-note thriller which takes its time to get up and running. And the use of flashbacks in the earlier scenes throw doubt on whether there is even a mystery to solve or whether Antoine is having a minor break-down brought on by his divorce. Once underway the plot does begin to gel and gather speed only to build towards a disappointing dénouement.
Antoine (Lafitte) and his sister Agathe (Mélanie Laurent) decide to return to their childhood holiday home on the picturesque Ile de Noirmoutier off the Atlantic coast to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their mother’s death. Gradually Antoine realises the details surrounding her death have been kept hidden and he starts to recover long-forgotten memories from the night before his mother died. But neither his distant father Charles (Wladimir Yordanoff) nor his grandmother Blanche (Bulle Ogier) are interested in re-living a difficult period for the family. And it’s down to Antoine, with the help of new-found friend Angèle (Audrey Dana), to dig deep into his family’s past to uncover the truth about what happened all those years ago.
Favrat does a nice job of building-up to Antoine’s confrontation with his shifty father and uncommunicative grandmother and these scenes are genuinely tense and absorbing. Laurent pitches it just right by underplaying the role of Agathe who struggles at first to understand her brother’s obsession with their mother’s death but who gradually changes sides in the light of Antoine’s hard won discoveries. No-one can fault Lafitte who is equally at home in comedy (Papa ou Maman
, Elle l”adore
, Tristesse Club
) as he is in serious drama (Les Rivières Pourpres, Ne Le dis a Personne
). As for the source material, Tatiana de Rosnay has written ten novels including the New York Times
bestseller Sarah’s Keys
became an international sensation with over four million copies sold in thirty-five countries worldwide. It was made into an award winning film in 2010, Elle s’appelait Sarah
, directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner starring Kristin Scott Thomas.
It’s interesting French directors appear to show more interest in translating English novels to the big screen than their Anglo counterparts. Think Guillaume Canet’s Ne Le Dis a Personne
from Harlan Coben’s Tell No-one
, Pascal Thomas’ Valentin Valentin
and Francois Ozon’s Une Nouvelle Amie
both based on novels by British crime writer Ruth Rendell. And Claude Chabrol and Claude Miller have also adapted novels by Rendell.
DIRECTOR’S BIO – FRANÇOIS FAVRAT