A father’s love for his adult son takes rather extreme forms in the dour Romanian pic “Rocker,” the sophomore feature of director Marian Crisan (“Morgen,” Palme d’Or-winning short “Megatron”). Stage vet Dan Chiorean gives a fully inhabited perf as a leather-faced daddy whose smothering love for his wannabe-singer, drug-addicted son extends to procuring him heroin, even though sonny-boy treats dad like a doormat. Result is certainly lifelike, though there’s little in terms of character insight or narrative surprises that’ll make auds want to spend 90 minutes with these sad-sack characters.Kind widower Victor (Chiorean), a land surveyor, supplements his income with petty crime. His aggressive son, Florin (Alin State), commands his old man to do his laundry, look for a hotel for an upcoming gig and score his dope. Victor’s essential decency, if not entirely clear from the way he slaves away for Florin, is further illustrated through his relationship with his dime-a-dozen g.f. (Ofelia Popii), who has a kid son. As in “Morgen,” the camerawork and tone are unobtrusive and observant, but overall stasis turns what was a slight remove into a large abyss.
A Les Films du Losange (in France) release of a Mandragora, Slot Machine, Departures Film production, in association with HBO Romania, SRTV. (International sales: Les Films du Losange, Paris.) Produced by Anca Puiu. Co-producers, Marianne Slot, Undine Filter, Thomas Kral. Directed, written by Marian Crisan.
Camera (color, widescreen, 35mm-to-HD), Tudor Mircea; editor, Tudor Pujoni; production designer, Alexandra Ungureanu; costume designer, Ungureanu; sound, Mihai Bogos. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (New Directors), Sept. 23, 2012. Running time: 91 MIN.
Dan Chiorean, Alin State, Ionut Nicolae, Ofelia Popii, Crina Semciuc, Richard Balint, Daniel Vulcu. (Romanian dialogue)