Bullying and the scarring left behind is examined in this Quebecois miserabalist drama that’s told with a lot of emotion and good ideas, but sometimes misses the mark.
Following a rec-league hockey game, Richard (Marc Beland) decides to give new player Paul (Patrick Goyette) a ride home. Unfortunately for Paul, he doesn’t realize that he’s riding with a person that he used to painfully bully and torment when he was younger who has recently watched his life begin to unravel. Adult Richard kidnaps Paul and brings him back to the filthy barnyard where the childhood torment too place to exact some of his own.
Taking a page or two from the Ken Loach playbook, Jimmy Larouche’s film is certainly unflinching, gritty, and yet visually stunning despite the subject matter. Beland and Goyette give excellent performances that give the battle of wills most of its nuance and detail, but narratively the film is a bit all over the place. Shifting between the pair’s tween, teen, and adult years (eventually with all incarnations of Richard stopping by the barn in one form or another to exact their revenge on Paul), the film suffers from a disjointed feeling that seems to be striving for something a lot more artful than it actually achieves. It’s still a decent enough look at how a bully can create a bully, albeit one that could have been a little more pointed than its almost constantly bludgeoning and miserable tone (the last bit of which should be seen as a compliment for this kind of film). (Andrew Parker)
Saturday, March 29th, 2:00pm, The Royal