Sunday, October 19, 2008

Que Dieu bénisse l'Amérique

With this movie, Quebecker director Robert Morin (Le Nèg) remains loyal to his reputation: while wanting to provoke, the story he came up with is average. Moreover, this movie is not much of an effective thriller.

September 11, 2001: In Laval, a suburb to the North of Montreal, Pierre St-Roch, a men who's taken for a paedophile, is thrown out of his house by his wife to whom he claims his innocence. Pierre faces the silent and negative judgement of his neighbours. Moreover, they fear him even more given that a list of sexual delinquents is illegally pinned on street lamps. However, things don't look too good when three of the five listed sexual delinquents are brutally killed and maimed by a vigilante...

As you read the movie's summary, you probably feel interested to rent this movie. With an interesting premise, Que Dieu bénisse l'Amérique had a chance to be a worthy precursor of the outstanding Canadian TV series Durham County. However, from the beggining to the story third quarter, this film is almost a flash in the pan mainly because of the approach used by Morin to deal with the story's subject, that is criminality in the suburbs. In short, this film is an example that looks (i.e. the cover) can be really deceptive.

Obviously, Morin doesn't seem interested to closely deal with the movie's premise. As a result of that, this film seems to get away from what ought to be its chief purposes: dealing in a balanced way with 1) vigilantism against sexual delinquents and 2) a neighbourhood's reaction toward a criminal of that kind, given that the suburbs often give us the feeling that nothing wrong can happen. In addition to that, as a movie that is supposed to be a thriller, there's actually no suspense that grips us and the film often looks like a satire that fails to make us laugh.

In fact, the story excessively focus on the characters' reaction (while knowing that they may be living near a criminal) by looking at the most insignificant aspects of their life (i.e. shopping, driving, etc.). As a result of that, we get useless sub-plots that create many long periods since the movie has way too much main characters per se. Moreover, these sub-plots give us the feeling that the criminal investigation (i.e. looking for both the mysterious vigilante and the sexual predator) is ignored thanks to most of the dialogues that are not appropriate for the movie's context. All in all, the ideal method would certainly have consisted in focusing a little bit more on the two cops who are quite well played by Gildor Roy and Patrice Dusseault.

Despite these flaws, the movie's finale seems to be the only moment when Que Dieu bénisse l'Amérique is interesting at all. However, the identity of the mysterious vigilante seems to be given away so that the movie can end. Hopefully, one may regret a little bit less renting this movie. In fact, the performance of the cast is good even though their characters form a caricature of suburbans.

Rating: 3/5

***

Que Dieu bénisse l'Amérique
Canada (2006)
Length: 105 minutes
Genre: Dramatic thriller
Screenplay: Robert Morin
Directed by: Robert Morin
Starring: Gildor Roy, Patrice Dusseault, Sylvie Léonard, Sylvain Marcel, Marika Lhoumeau, Gaston Lepage and René-Daniel Dubois

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