24 April 2013 | ClaytonDavis
Thomas Haden Church dives head first into the suspenseful tale about redemption and survival...
Since his first entry into the realm of Oscar-lovers and voters, Thomas Haden Church seemed like a one-trick pony. His newest effort in Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais' film Whitewash has the actor delivering his finest work yet. Telling the story of Bruce, a man heavy on the bottle, who after he hits a man with his bulldozer during a snowstorm, ventures out into the cold Canadian woods to hide for survival.
As the narrative travels in and out of present and past time, writers Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais and Marc Tulin manage to keep the subdued aura of the film while still keeping it interesting and inventive. Many choices in storytelling and shooting will remind many of the underrated film from Joe Carnahan, The Grey (2012), but the characters here felt much more accessible, both in flaws and pros. The dreary and intimate portrait captured by Cinematographer André Turpin is what encourages the film to go to another place cinematically. His choices along with Hoss- Desmarais' direction keep the story and the audience close and working together to get to our resolution.
Thomas Haden Church really manages to outdo himself as an actor and for the first time, becomes something bigger than he probably though of himself to be. In a tale of survival, in both the physical and criminal sense, Church lays out of an agenda that is both demanding of himself and philosophically sound. He walks the line of composure and is absolutely hypnotic. His performance is both poetic and visceral and becomes the first authentically genuine and raw male performance of the film year. He has never been better. What Whitewash also manages is an introduction to actor Marc Labrèche, who is simply fantastic in his role of Paul, a mysterious figure that will bring you on an emotional roller coaster to his defying finale.
The film is surely a risky endeavor and while the film utilizes the audience's imagination and requirement to let certain laws of physics go, the bridge from the film to the resounding mind of film-lovers is clearly passionate and aptly brutal. It's vividly melancholic in execution and could be one of the best films of the year. Small yet larger than itself, Whitewash is a tranquil message of survival and redemption.