When the body of the executive of hockey Benoit Brisset is found on the billboard of the border of Quebec and Ontario, the jurisdiction of the crime is shared between the two police forces and detectives David Bouchard from Montreal and Martin Ward from Toronto are assigned to work together. With totally different styles, attitudes and languages, the reckless David and the ethical Martin join force to disclose the identity of the Tattoo Killer, a deranged serial-killer that is killing managers of hockey.
I have been meaning to watch this movie for such a long time, I don’t know how it managed to slip under my radar when it first came out. This film was made here in Canada and encompasses a number of cultural issues and differences between French Canada and English Canada as well as national markers that we associate with the concept of being Canadian (hockey, bilingualism). As you can tell by the trailer, it’s also quite a roll in genres: murder mystery, action, comedy.
What’s really great about this movie is that it’s so Canadian, highlighted by the interchange between French and English. They also make a hilarious reference to translating between the two languages early on in the movie, a hilarious point at how our country is technically supposed to be bilingual and yet almost everyone is not bilingual. My French is not so great but it’s great to hear both languages utilised here; it’s especially amusing to note how distinct Quebecois French is (whenever I wach francophile movies, they’re usually from France so the accents are different). It’s also interesting to hear that certain English phrases do sneak in every now and then, partly stemming from (namely) Bouchard’s frustration at any given moment.
And then you have this particular gem of a moment about conjugating the word “fuck” in French; I’ve personally always marvelled how you’re able to conjugate that word and utilise it in some many ways grammatically-speaking (not to mention this scene highlights some differences between the Quebecois cop and the Ontario cop):
(Sorry, I couldn’t find a vid with the English subtitles–the grammatical lesson Bouchard gives Ward was pretty funny)
Speaking of which, it was absolutely fantastic how both cops are completely different personality-wise and how their ways of going about their work reflects their cultural differences: Bouchard thinks Ward is play-by-the-rules boring and uncool while Ward thinks Bouchard is reckless (see: Bouchard’s driving–a stereotype that Quebecois drivers (especially those from Montreal; and I can sort of attest to that during my time there) are pretty crazy) and not one who follows the rules. Yet over the course of the movie, we see them get over some of their prejudices of one another and learn to work with each other’s unorthodox tactics. Their various specialties also come in handy every now and then.
Of course, some of the differences highlighted are broad strokes and ones that are often emphasised about when discussing the differences between both cultures. In some cases, it’s also extremely exaggerated, like Bouchard’s poking at how English Canada was into the monarchy and the Queen. Hockey also plays a major theme in the movie and is obviously considered a major Canadian past time; as the film shows though, this love for the “great game” can sometimes go a bit too far in our country (to take a real life example, the Vancouver riots almost two years ago after they lost during the finals for the Stanley Cup).
The comedy and clash between French Canadian and English Canadian culture aside, the plot is pretty straightforward, your standard cop murder mystery with the stakes amping up as you go along and the usual bureaucratic yelling from above. The editing was a wee bit weird at one point; I wasn’t sure how many days had passed in between scenes there but otherwise the pacing of the story was great. Colm Feore was fantastic as Martin Ward and it’s nice to see him play a role with a comedic element to it (I often see him in really serious roles, such as The Borgias as of late). Patrick Huard, who co-wrote the script, was fantastic as David Bouchard. His and Feore’s chemistry on screen was just pitch perfect. The rest of the cast was great and it was pretty amusing to see Rick Mercer play a role in the movie.
Overall, it was a fun movie with a lot of laugh-out-loud and oh-no moments. The mystery kept me entertained and it was just great watching Feore and Huard’s banter on-screen. And it’s great to see a movie that plays on our concept of Canadian national identity and the two major cultures that are present in our country. I’d highly recommend this movie if you’re looking for a comedy/action movie or you’re looking for a Canadian film to check out.