Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mount Pleasant (2006)

Many people reproach Hollywood films for being too formulaic. However, despite being an independent film, Mount Pleasant looks like a product taken out of an assembly line. In fact, the only thing the film is able to look like a caricature of an independent film taking place in a North American metropolis.

The film takes place in Vancouver, the second largest city of Canada, in the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant. This sector is mostly inhabited by poor people, but Doug (Benjamin Ratner) and Sarah (Camille Sullivan), a middle-class couple with a daughter (Haley Guiel), form an exception. While their daughter, Courtney, played in the backyard, she finds a junkie's discarded needle. After that moment, the Camerons's life becomes intertwined with that of other people. They come across Nadia (Katie Boland), a fifteen-year-old prostitute who dropped the discarded needle in front of the Camerons' house.

Then, there are also Anne (Kelly Rowan) and Stephen (Shawn Doyle) Burrows, an upper-class couple. Their daughter, Megan (Genevieve Buechner), has an adolescence crisis. Anne works with Sarah in an organization fighting the consumption of drugs in Vancouver's schools. As for Stephen, he cheats on his wife for Nadia. Besides, Doug and his fellow night street vigilantes try to get Nadia out of prostitution.

In all fairness, this is the kind of film that one would want to like. However, the final result shows that Mount Pleasant is a rather superficial film. The film starts by dealing with people's potential exposure to discarded needle in huge cities (Vancouver in this case). Unfortunately, by superficiously dealing with this serious problem affecting poor areas of major Canadian cities, the film doesn't try to explain how such an unfortunate thing can happen. For isntance, have you ever wondered why a prostitute - who doesn't have to reply to a pimp - would choose to consume drugs rather than going to a grocery store?

Furthermore, the film slowly becomes a disorganized mess. In fact, it tries to deal with other sub plots that talk about other topics. Even though these topics are interesting, the film is simply too short to fully develop them. For instance, you might not give a business about Megan's attempt to dress "like a girl" in order to please to her mom who is played by Kelly Rowan because it adds no interest to the main plot: 1) the problem with drugs in Vancouver; and 2) how every characters are either unconsciously maintaining this problem (Stephen seeing a prostitute), living with it or fighting it.

Despite not having a good storyline, Mount Pleasant can rely on a decent performance from a cast that does the best it can. After all, the storyline is itself is pretty thin. This goes without saying that I rented this film, because I'm a huge fan of Camille Sullivan (Intelligence).

Finally, Mount Pleasant is an urban drama à la Paul Haggis's Crash that should have been made into a TV series for a cable network. In fact, the film has too much interesting topics aboard that it doesn't manage to fully develop them within 87 minutes. Besides, Vancouver has never looked so bleak in a film or a TV series.

Rating: 2.5/5

Origin:Canada (2006)
Length:87 minutes
Screenplay:Ross Weber
Director:Ross Weber
Starring:Katie Boland, Genevieve Buechner

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Buy it on Amazon (USA):

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