|by:||Feb 5, 2007|
Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly, Toronto
The Rocket. This is a bit of a protest choice, since my favorite Canadian features of the latest batch - The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, Congorama and Monkey Warfare - missed the cut. And while I had big love for Trailer Park Boys The Movie, it's hard for me to determine how much of what I felt was just relief that the show's rough edges hadn't all been sanded off.
The Rocket isn't my idea of a masterpiece either, but it's a remarkably effective piece of populist filmmaking. By presenting Maurice Richard as the first soldier of the Quiet Revolution, Charles Binamé and Ken Scott don't shy away from myth-making or tear-jerking. Yet Roy Dupuis' stoic sense of determination and barely suppressed ferocity give heft to the hokum, as do the spectacularly grisly sequences of on-ice action. I felt like I needed to wear a helmet just to watch them safely.
Stephen Cooke, The ChronicleHerald, Halifax
Trailer Park Boys The Movie. What could be more Canadian than a tale about [some] working-class - or, more appropriately, "non-working" class - fellas trying to build a future for themselves and build up a sense of self-worth at the same time? Trailer Park Boys The Movie is the latest entry in what has become a national genre - from Goin' Down the Road to Strange Brew - reflecting a unique slice of Canadian existence and creating iconic characters out of the salt of the earth.
Granted, Ricky and Julian stand on the brink of becoming cartoons (while their myopic conscience Bubbles plunges right in), but the characters' ability to seem larger-than-life, while still behaving like people you'd recognize from everyday life, is the key to this TV - and now big-screen - franchise's success.
Ken Eisner, The Georgia Straight and Variety, Vancouver
I'm not at all sure about best picture this time around. But The Rocket and Bon Cop, Bad Cop represent interesting bookends on the slim shelf of films attempting to have their poutine and eat it, too - at least where the Canadian ticket-buying public is concerned. At one extreme, you have Roy Dupuis' earnest, somewhat opaque portrayal of real-life hockey legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard, set in a handsomely sepia-toned period piece laden with context concerning this country's bilingual past and monomaniacal fixation on hockey.
At the other end, where a little money is found, there's a purely commercial creation in which actors Colm Feore and Patrick Huard, as mismatched detectives, have a visible blast sending up some of the same Anglo-French issues raised by The Rocket. Combined, they suggest more clearly what this culture is capable of producing that neither does on its own. Together or apart, they could still stand to be funnier, darker, and deeper.
John Griffin, The Gazette, Montreal
This is both a tough call and a handy example of the crazy diversity in our national cinema in the new millennium. Bon Cop, Bad Cop is the top-grossing film in the country to date, and a real treat for all of us who live in a bilingual world. It brings out my inner poutine while meeting its modest, self-stated mandate to provide the masses with high-octane action and middle-brow humor. Auteur's got nothing to do with it.
Trailer Park Boys The Movie successfully extends the great TV show to feature length without watering down the content. It appealed to English Canada the way Bon Cop worked in Quebec. [Meanwhile], Un Dimanche à Kigali put a human face on the unspeakable atrocities during the Rwandan genocide, and is this year's movie with a conscience.
The Genie will go to The Rocket, a sober picture about a heroic hockey player who has also come to represent the first symbol of Quebec's Quiet Revolution. Of all the films this year, it cuts cross-country.