Wednesday, February 3, 2010

5150, Rue des Ormes (5150 Elm's Way)

Don't miscontrue my words: I'm a total fan of Patrick Senécal's novels and I own all of them. However, the mention of Éric Tessier, the director who slaughtered Sur le seuil, in the credit left me icy. Honestly, 5150, Rue des Ormes sure has its strong moments, but it remains an entertaining film at most.

Yannick Bérubé (Marc-André Grondin) just got accepted at a cinema school. After he had moved in an appartment, he begins to film his first film project for school. While he was bycicling in a residential neighbourhood, Yannick falls of his bike. Because of the scratches on his hands and his elbow, he asks Jacques Beaulieu (Normand D'Amour), a cab driver who is not on a shift, to call a cab for him.

Since he has to wash the blood off his hands, Yannick does the mistake of entering Jacques's house. Furthermore, because he discovered an agonizing man kept in an empty room, Yannick will get locked in this room by Jacques for the time being. Obviously, Jacques's family looks normal on the surface. However, Jacques is, in actuality, a psychopath (he kills people "who deserves it") who believes he's the last of the Just Assassins (a reference to Albert Camus's play?); Michelle (Mylène St-Sauveur), the teenager, looks more dangerous than her father; Maude (Sonia Vachon), Jacques's wife, blindly obeys to him and is a Jesus freak. As for Anne, the youngest daughter, she's mute.

While he has always tried to escape, Yannick will receive a proposal from Jacques. The only thing he has to do is to beat Jacques once in chess.

Unlike Sur le seuil, which was a total mess, 5150, Rue des Ormes surprises us with its fairly good combination of Misery and the TV series Dexter. However, the script has a minor problem. In the first half, we sense that the film's pace is not as quick as that of the novel. This is why it takes time for the film to install its sources of tension and to make Yannick fall into madness. In short, if you really lack patience, you might lose interest for the film very quickly.

On another note, while Sonia Vachon's character is as interesting as any given home appliance, the performance from the other members of the cast makes this film a treat in the second half. Obviously, pretty much everything has been said about the marvelous confrontation between Marc-André Grondin, who portrays well the loss of sanity, and Normand D'Amour, as an average Joe who hides a dark secret. While Yannick is obsessed in beating Jacques in chess, Jacques, on the other hand, is obsessed to prove that he's not out of his mind by winning at chess. As for Mylène St-Sauveur, besides looking very lovely, she sure knows how to play a character who can't suppress her psychopathy.

Finally, 5150, Rue des Ormes is far to be as intense as the novel. However, if you're patient enough, just wait for the second half of the film, because it really is, in the end, the only part that is worth watching. Moreover, the film is lucky enough to have competent actors.

Rating: 2.5/5

Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:110 minutes
Genre:Psychological thriller
Screenplay:Patrick Senécal
Director:Éric Tessier
Marc-André Grondin, Normand D'Amour, Sonia Vachon, Mylène St-Sauveur and Élodie Larivière

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