Handsomely shot, with a slick, cold style, this movie plays out like a made for TV production with (slightly) better production values. As a non-Canadian who always sees a lot of Canadian films while attending the Toronto Film Festival, I just couldn't bring myself to care about this lead character. Played by the solid but ultra-bland Scott Speedman (who is looking more and more mature but whose handsomeness is wearing thin), we follow the adventures and travails of a famous Canadian historical personage. But "Bonnie and Clyde" this is not. On the contrary the movie suffers from a lack of zest, a lack of energy. Speedman is nice to look at but he brings no sense of urgency to anything he does. I know it's a stretch, but compare this to Warren Beatty, who was the very definition of a sex icon but who brought a goofy, affable, ever-so-slightly psycho charm to his Clyde Barrow. We get none of that here. Not even close. On the plus side I enjoyed some of the minor characters and for a first film it's reasonably well directed. BUT...and this is a big "but"...there is a deficit of real drama. This genre has been done so well by so many A-list directors and actors that a minor entry into the realm just isn't enough. I'm adding a star because I think this director could have a future but I don't see this film traveling south of its Canadian audience, nor does it deserve to. And truth be told I don't think most Canucks will care either. The film doesn't give them a good enough reason to, and this, above all, is its failing.
As a fan of Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen (who I think could one day be a great serious actor) I really really wanted to like this film, which is why I fought to get a ticket at TIFF. Sadly the movie is flat, ugly to look at, and there are very few moments which feel real. To be frank, it all felt like a precious acting exercise. Luke Kirby's character, a sexy rickshaw driver (!?!), felt as false and fake as anything Michael Bay would come up with. And the writing was awful, full of groan-worthy lines and moments which strive to be poetic but come up way short. I think Sarah Polley could be a good director one day but maybe she needs the crutch of an Alice Munro story to help her get over her own plot weaknesses...because this movie just doesn't work on almost any level. I will say that I liked (didn't love) Michelle Williams, and even though this is one of her less exciting performances she remains one of the most watchable, subtle, and cool actresses of her generation. What Sarah Polley could have been if she had the guts to stretch herself out of her "just-stare-at-the-camera-and-blink-meaningfully" performance-rut she's been in over the last decade. Bonus star for Sarah Silverman. Gotta love her. Hope to see her star in something one day.
I call this movie Male Camp. It's full of sexy guys doing sexy things, punctuated by ultra- violence. There is just enough art mixed in to lift it above the fray...but I couldn't help feeling like this movie was a Maxim Magazine article come to life. Was it entertaining? Sporadically, yes. But it was also overly-manipulative, slow, and mostly just silly. For what it's worth, the shots are gorgeous and the performances are wonderfully serious considering the ridiculousness of the...and I use this word ever so lightly...plot. The whole package is either a tsunami of irony or an ocean of pure silly violence, depending on how sympathetic you are to the director's vision. So if you love action films but wish they were slower and artier and campier, boy do I have a movie for you.
Whoa movie, you are sort of a hot mess! But I loved you for your style and your funny dialogue and the way you made me feel dirty and innocent at the same time. The acting was mainly very strong. But Kat, you should try to emote just a little more. However. I respect that you let yourself be such a bitch, and then opened up and made me feel for you. For awhile there you worried me, but you redeemed yourself nicely. Josh Lucas, anytime, anywhere, I'm yours. Blonde hair or not. Reece Thompson, I don't know who you are, but you have promise. In fact, I'd say you were the highlight here (not counting Josh Lucas's abs). In summary, I'm giving this movie a solid 8/10. Next time clean up your act a little and I'll give you an A plus.
Kristen Wiig, you deserve and Oscar, and I know I'm not the only one who thinks that. Maya Rudolph, you shat in the middle of a busy street. That takes some serious balls. In general I really liked this movie, and that "like" would be love were it not for the fact it sometimes dragged and let the air out. Could have been a crisp 90-100 min film, but for some reason that's verboten nowadays unless you're a small indie. Judd Apatow, I blame you. You're clearly great at what you do but you make us sit though epic comedies and it does the films a disservice. Overall though, I laughed, I felt for the main character, and I thought the film was surprisingly soulful. A generous 8/10.