Director: Michel Franco
Cast: Tim Roth, Bitsie Tulloch, Claire van der Boom
Running Time: 93 minutes
Cinema is a great thing because it allows us to tell stories about uncomfortable parts of life, among many other things. Here, director Michel Franco is doing just that, telling a story about an uncomfortable issue. CHRONIC follows Tim Roth’s David, a home carer who works with terminally ill patients and someone who we must spend time with to try to understand.
Roth is great here, he withholds so much as David and we never feel as if we know him. He goes about life in a fairly routine fashion but his caring side can never be questioned because of the committment he gives to his job mentally and physically. It’s this uncomfortable aspect of life that Franco’s exploring and in Roth he has a leading man who can convey the delicate nuance of a caregiver.
The plot does have David go into shaky ground as he moves from one patient to another and CHRONIC is a very sad watch, the only respite from the harshness of it come in small bursts that make you, as a viewer, feel as awkward as the characters must feel. Franco’s script and direction remain squarely focussed on David, despite the opportunity to explore many issues within the whole caring field such as the having that existence and facing death.
The film isn’t without its similarities, many comparisons can be drawn to Uberto Pasolini’s STILL LIFE which tells a similar story of a downbeat existence. However, where STILL LIFE leans towards some quirk, CHRONIC does not and it’s this boldness that makes Franco’s film worth seeking out. The ending will divide opinion due to the gut-wrenching reality of it, but there’s so much good done leading up to, particularly from Roth.