Boomerang is the latest film from French director, François Favrat (The Role of her Life), serving as a decent reminder that no secrets are ever truly hidden. Based on the novel A Secret to Keep by Tatiana De Rosnay, the film finds itself caught in an awkward position between thriller and drama without bringing much new to the table.
After separating from his wife, and dealing with a strained relationship with his children, Antoine (Laurent Lafitte) must face the upcoming twentieth anniversary of his mother’s mysterious death. Along with his sister, Agathe (Mélanie Laurent), the two decide to travel to their childhood home, which sparks his interest in the mystery once more and sets him on a path to find answers. As the secret unravels and Antoine’s interest becomes a dangerous obcession, he risks the very relationships with those he loves dearest.
The family secret that serves as the centre of the narrative is the film’s main downfall. While the mystery seems tantalizing enough in the first act, as Antoine only begins to scratch the surface, it soon becomes apparent that the secret isn’t that complex at all, and instead relies solely on the few parties involved simply refusing to cooperate. To make matters worse, when all is revealed, the truth seems remarkably tame and so clichéd by today’s standards that any number of soap operas have probably done it better. Perhaps if Boomerang had been released two decades ago it would have proven more provocative or controversial, and also more original, but instead it’s ultimately irrelevant.
The film seems determined to walk the line between thriller and drama, yet blends them in a rather unconvincing way. The thrills never reach the heights of their first promise, in part thanks to Favrat’s decision to instead highlight the mundaneness of life. Antoine’s struggle with life is a focal point, but it appears a hollow, halfhearted attempt to bring authority as a drama, played up more through the family turmoil.
Favrat’s attempt to present the randomness of life also comes into play. There’s the accident Agathe suffers early on that leaves her in physical rehab and the blossoming of a relationship between Antoine and a morgue worker, Angèle (Audrey Dana). Unfortunately, neither of these two storylines provide any real pay-off or relevance beyond simply adding a more complex layer to Antoine’s problems and providing some extremely loose parallels to his mother’s story.
Still, Lafitte (Little White Lies) proves a captivating lead, at least enough to keep one’s attention for most of the running time, and he has a nice rapport with Laurent (Now You See Me), whose sibling relationship sits as the core of the film. While perhaps slightly better acted than most, Boomerang sits comfortably in TV movie territory and doesn’t prove to be essential viewing.
THE REEL SCORE: 5/10