31 May 2006 | skookum1
Excellent and provocative
I saw Secret Nation on a late-night cable network broadcast and was immediately struck that this was one of the only genuinely political films I've ever seen come out of English Canada. And in reply to the previous comment, "by jove, something like that could really happen", the movie is supposedly based on well-researched events and is not entirely fictional. Canada DID conspire with Smallwood to derail the Newfoundland independence movement, which preferred its continued colonial status and direct ties to London, with greater democracy at home. It's dirty tricks from start to finish and all too real.
Perhaps because it's largely a Newfoundland cast, the acting is superb and the cast riveting, and there's no fake posing and stilted Canadian-style moralizing, as with so many self-consciously "political" films from Canada. The script comes across like a thriller, instead of the documentary flavour that we saw in the recent Tommy Douglas story, which was, well, kinda dull.
Secret Nation is a must-see for anyone interested in the current Canadian national political debates over the Constitution and regional discord. The only comparable films in the Canadian film catalogue I can think of are French-Canadian, such as Les Ordres. The recent made-for-TV thriller H20, with Paul Gross and directed by a Quebec director (making his first English film), is the next-best thriller in English about Canada I've seen; but it's science fiction; Secret Nation is fact.