Sons of Philadelphia: a tough sticky film noir [critique]

A supremely taciturn Matthias Schoenaerts in front of Jérémie Guez’s camera.

Released in May 2021, Sons of Philadelphia, by Jérémie Guez. with Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Kinnaman and Maika Monroe will be broadcast this evening on Canal +. First recommend it to you.

Second feature film by writer-screenwriter Jérémie Guez, Sons of Philadelphia is his first American production. It is also the adaptation of one of Pete Dexter’s best novels, Brotherly love which transposed the codes of Greek tragedy among the Philadelphia mafia. We find on the screen all the sticky and violent atmosphere of the American writer. All his despair too. When you take the guns out here, it’s not pretty; it is dirty, lively and surprising. The blows that rain on a ring (it is a lot about boxing) hammer the jaws of the actors but we feel them physically too …

The film follows the complicated relationship of two cousins ​​who grew up as brothers. Peter (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a silent and taciturn force of nature when Michael (Joel Kinnaman) is a hothead, eaten away by violence. A lousy kidnapping, meeting a young woman and rivalry with an Italian gang will turn the relationship between the two men upside down and bring back old family secrets. Sons of Philadelphia has all the qualities of a solid American thriller. It’s dry, feverish, incredibly embodied. The film locks the viewer into a deleterious gear until its final as predictable as it is catastrophic. The force of destiny, the weight of family constraints … Everything is there perfectly executed, impeccably embodied. The film confirms the talent of Jérémie Guez, who is no longer just a breathtaking writer, but now a filmmaker to follow.

Leave a Reply