Tuesday, 24 March 2009


Dir: Denis Villeneuve (Maelstrom)
Cast: Maxim Gaudette, Karine Vanasse, Sébastien Huberdeau, Evelyne Brochu
Canada, 2009

Seen: March 23, 2009 at the Cumberland

Reason to see: Canadian

When I first heard that there was a film being made based on the 1989 Montreal Massacre, I was hesitant. I wondered why would we want to see this? Is this the right time for a film of this nature, is there ever the right time for this kind of film?
Then I found out it was being directed by Denis Villeneuve, and realized this tender topic was in the safest hands out there.

The events that occur are, of course, brutal and upsetting. However it is shown with such a sensitive touch where there is almost no judgement, but depiction. Judgement isn't even necessary as we all know it was a horrifying day. Therefore we see a portrayal and the accounts flow seamlessly from portraits to everyday life moments to the surreal history itself. Shown in black and white we can feel the chill of the December day as the narrative unfolds. A quiet score fits in perfectly shifting from calm to panic. The actors performances are so on, that you never doubt them for a minute. It's hard to say that I 'enjoyed' watching the film, but I was amazed at how at the same time it was equally tactful, honest and scary. Quite a feat.

Those of us who were around at the time of the event will remember how it shook us as a people, as a country and for those of us who are women, as women. We do need to remember.

Shannon's Overall View:
I was moved by it
I'd love to see it again in French with English subtitles *
I recommend it

* I was very surprized that it was shown in English. It appears that there is are French and English version - I hope this leads to it been seen and heard to a wider audience.

13 minutes of preshow including the short film NFB 70 Years/ONF 70 ans, 1 commercial, 2 previews: Hunger and The Brothers Bloom

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© Shannon Ridler, 2009


Bob Turnbull said...

Yoips, I don't know if I could watch it...I'm glad to hear it's not a crapfest, but it's just one of those events, you know? Having moved to Toronto from Montreal only a year previous, I remember scanning the names and pictures in the news articles at the time for people that I might know...

I'll have to think about it.

Trista DeVries said...

Shannon this is such a beautiful review. Everything I've heard about this movie has been beautiful, moving and brilliant. I'm hoping to get out to see it soon.

I remember this happening when I was very, very young, but this event (and a very feminist matriarch who may have felt it more than most) really shaped my identity as a woman. I'm so glad to hear it was done sensitively.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Wow, I didn't realized that Bob that you moved to TO so soon after it happened - in that case I don't think you would need to remember as I'm sure you always will.

When I feel close personally to a subject matter that might be too tender, I opt to watch it at home just incase it's too much.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Thanks so much Trista, I'm glad you enjoyed the review. I hope you do get out to see it.

I was young when it happened as well, and I really remember being shaken by it - especially as it was right around the time I was getting more and more feminist.

It was very sensitive, which is so impressive.

Suzie Ridler said...

I'm glad to hear that it was well done Shannon. I do have some issues about it being made. I'm glad that it isn't sensationalistic which is what I was worried about. I can't imagine watching it but am impressed you did. I think this is an important story for all women and especially Canadians.

Anh Khoi Do said...

Glad to hear from you, Shannon, that the film is well made. Moreover, since the film was directed by Denis Villeneuve, I can trust him for not attempting to make anything that aims entertainment. I haven't seen it, but I hope it does justice to the victims.

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