May 01, 2014

Whitewash (2013)

Whitewash (2013) - Movie Review
Directed by: Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
Country: Canada

Movie Review: Canadian actor Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais has in “Whitewash” his directorial debut, a thriller that didn’t thrill me at all. Set in the extremely cold Quebec, the story follows Bruce (Thomas Haden Church), a snowplow operator with a problematic past who sees himself overwhelmed by his fellow Paul (Marc Labrèche), an insidious gambler. Accidentally, Bruce kills Paul in the middle of a snowstorm, burying the body and hiding himself from the authorities as his consciousness nags him continuously. Little by little and through flashbacks, we become aware of the men’s intractable relationship, but I only started slightly to involve myself in the story after the first hour, just to see its ending 30 minutes later. Haden Church’s performance was much more convincing than Labrèche, in a film that seemed set in layers, almost without a coherent narrative continuity, which affected strongly the final result. Despite of Bruce’s undesired encounters, tortured thoughts, and monologues where he expresses his fear by imagining a police interrogation, the film is devoid of real stimulation and keeps going round in circles, without any unsettling moment capable of grabbing my attention. I would say that Hoss-Desmarais risked too much in an almost-solo, non-charismatic character, and the outcome is neither minimalist nor conventional. The power of the mind over the body can be very benumbing. Only in this particular case, I also felt numb, and it wasn’t from the Canadian cold.

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