Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So if I were to tell you about a movie that concerns this freaky Asian kid with some super healing type powers, some weird secret society that’s trying to kill this freaky Asian kid and inform you that this Asian kid is being protected by a relatively normal person with a magical knife that must kill something or another to bring this thing to a close, you would probably jump and yell "What is ‘The Golden Child’ starring Eddie Murphy, Alex!" To which you would be partially right, but we are not here to discuss ‘The Golden Child’ from 1985 starring Eddie Murphy. No sir, we will be discussing the French film ‘The Stone Council’ starring Monica Bellucci which also has a freaky healing Asian kid.

Ms. Bellucci plays Laura Siprien, a translator at the Russian Consulate who was orphaned as a child and adopts a two month old Asian boy named Lui-San as she is doing her small part to provide a home for an orphaned child. Laura leads a fairly sheltered life consisting of work and the care of her beloved son, though she does have an ex-boyfriend, Lucas (Sam Bouajila) who is always hanging around trying to get back in good graces and a slutty roommate named Clarisse (Elsa Zylberstein) who’s rarely there. Laura and seven-year old Lui-San (Nicholas Tau) have a very close relationship, so close they have identical and concurrent dreams and nightmares. One day Lui-San starts to develop a strange mark on his chest and Laura takes him to the family physician to see what it is. The physician assures them that it’s nothing to be concerned about, but as the young family exits his office he makes the phone call. The conspiracy is now on.

With Laura soon to be heading out of town for a conference, she places Lui-San in the care of her trusted confidant Sybil (Catherine Denueve), despite Lui-Sans vehement protest. A tragic car accident leaves the boy brain damaged, but only for a little

bit as he starts to heal, then things start getting strange. Characters start dying at an amazing rate, everybody but everybody seems in on the conspiracy to take away Laura’s child, and Lui-San has been kidnapped and taken away for some mysterious reason. The reason will horrify Laura as she must go on an adventure halfway across the world to unravel the reasons behind the kidnapping and hopefully save her child in the process.

‘The Stone Council’ was a nicely shot, slick, well paced, decently acted film that won’t bore you, but as these movies tend to be with plots that get as complicated as this one did, similar to the ‘Golden Child’ it was amazingly stupid. It appears that everyone wants the child and will kill anybody to get the child, but they don't kill Laura. I was certain there was a reason they were keeping Laura alive, but as it turns out there was none other than she had to be there at the end. Actor Mortitz Bleibtrue plays a Russian character named Makov, who serves the purpose of talking knowledge head. When we don’t know something and it needs to be explained, here pop ups Makov with the info. We need directions to somebody’s house, Makov knows. Laura needs to know what really happened to her parents, somehow Makov has that 4-1-1. And how in the world did Laura manage to get that bloody ass knife all the way through customs at the airport. She didn’t even have luggage. ‘Anything to declare miss?’ ‘No, just this bloody ass knife that’s been used to kill four people already. Is that going to be a problem?’

Personally I thought Monica Bellucci did a very believable job in her role as the worried and beleaguered mother and it seemed director Guillame Lacoux and his make up crew tried de-glamorize Ms. Bellucci the best that they could, but as long as she has that mouth, those eyes and that body, there’s only so much you can do. Of course anyone who has followed Monica Bellucci’s career with any regularity knows the lady isn't the shyest girl around, and I was curious to see if they were going write in a nude scene in this film, despite the fact I couldn’t remotely think of a place where it would be even remotely appropriate. Well they found a way, proving why I'll never be a filmmaker. Congratulation director Guillame Lacoux!

I realize that this film was based on a novel by Jean Christophe Grange and I don’t know if the novel carved a little off the ‘Golden Child’ either, but the film sure did, even if it was inadvertent. ‘The Stone council’ was an easy film to watch and it was certainly inoffensive, but it did seem to be bit too ambitious in its narrative and it asks you… no, begs you to suspend a bit too much belief to be taken too terribly serious.

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