Louis Drax is an accident-prone nine year old. Having endured eight
near-death accidents throughout his life, according to cat years, he
would be on his last and is fully aware that he may never grow up
before his time comes to an end. With this knowledge and history behind
him, he finds himself in a coma after falling off the edge of a cliff,
and the circumstances of which are left a vague mystery to be
uncovered, including the related disappearance of his father. Was it an
accident? Or was it something more? Amidst all this, his doctor becomes
entranced with his mother, despite mysterious warnings to the contrary,
and he finds himself in an unconscious journey of discovery with a
Tonally the movie is all over the place, which can make it feel a
little uneven, but at the same time I felt it kind of worked. The movie
opens with a montage of Louis' life told from a black comedy angle.
Obviously what happens to him isn't exactly nice, but it's played for
laughs. If you don't like black comedy, this opening sequence will turn
you off immediately. This soon gives way to melancholy when the tragedy
unfolds, which is about as much of a stark contrast as you can get.
There's also some freakier moments revolving around the creature, a
typically romantic tone between Pascal and Natalie, and in it's
penultimate moments it shifts more into thriller territory. However, I
never felt this was jarring at all. Every shift in tone suited the
scenes perfectly, and evolved organically from one to the other.
It's central driving force is the mystery surrounding the circumstances
of his fall, which inevitably culminates in a twist or two as the
movie's finale approaches. The big twist isn't so much of a twist as it
is a slow evolution over the course of the movie. It's not just
signposted, it's actively developed as we go along and learn more and
more about the characters and their own stories. The way this all comes
to light can be a little hard to swallow, and doesn't take the time to
explain itself, namely telepathy and the ability to talk to the dead.
This is where the more fantastical elements of the movie come to the
forefront, but due to the various shifts in tones, I didn't find this
too much of a leap. It was obviously not attempting to be even remotely
realistic. I just wish they gave some kind of explanation for it rather
than just briskly moving on. There is another minor twist as well
though, and I'll confess that did throw me for a loop, but I won't
Aiden Longworth, Jamie Dornan, and Sarah Gadon do really well in their
major roles, without particularly breaking any new ground. Dornan in
particular seems a bit bland in most of his appearances, but I'm not
sure whether that's down to him or what he was given to work with. It
wasn't too much of a distraction either way. However the real stars are
some of the more supporting actors. Oliver Platt and Barbara Hershey
really tear up their limited screen time as Dr. Perez and Louis'
grandmother respectively. And of course Aaron Paul does what he does
best. The chemistry he shares with Longworth goes a long way to
developing their father-son relationship and leads to one of the
movie's most heartbreaking scenes. Again though, I couldn't shake the
feeling that Paul was cast for his ability to cry on demand. I'm not
saying it's a bad thing; I love seeing Aaron Paul cry in movies, as
he's always so genuine with it, but I fear he's getting a little
typecast and may be relying on it too much (not in this movie, just in
The big thing that drew me to the movie in the first place though was
the visual quality, and while it's not quite as I expected, I can't say
that I'm disappointed. Almost the entire movie is bathed in a dreamy
glow, both the moments in dream or flashback, and the current events.
It generally gave a very ethereal quality to everything. There was some
differentiation between dreams/flashbacks and real life though and that
was largely thanks to the colour pallet, particularly early on. Louis'
happier moments are awash with golds and reds and other warm colours,
while the more melancholic present day scenes had a cold, blue hue. The
scenes with the creature also seemed to have a subtle hint of green to
them as well.
Louis Drax is certain to be another one of those movies I put on the
pile of 'movies I love that everyone else hates', but I don't care.
It's story is intriguing with interesting developments as it goes
along, despite it's missteps and shifts in tone, the character work is
a good attempt even if it doesn't always land the mark, and it's visual
appearance is a feast for the eyes even if it isn't particularly
innovative or creative. I give Louis Drax a very good 8/10, but also
acknowledge it's not a movie that will suit everyone's tastes. I
thoroughly enjoyed it, but I was also open to and prepared for
something a bit off-the-wall.