Monday, May 17, 2010

The Trotsky (2010)

The first time I saw The Trotsky was during the previous Festival du nouveau cinema in Montreal. Many months later, my perception about this teenager comedy has hardly changed. In fact, The Trotsky is a little bit silly, yet positively irreverent, but it remains a decent film meant for entertainment.

Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel), a teenager from Montreal, believes he's the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, one of the USSR's founding fathers. He also motivated the workers of his dad's factory into a hunger strike. After that, Leon's dad (Saul Rubinek) takes him out of his boarding school and sends him in a public school. By that way, according to his dad, Leon can have the feeling that he is living the life of the real Leon Trotsky. Once there, Leon will try to give to students from his school a real union.

In order to live the real Trotsky's life, Leon also tries to seduce Alexandra (Emily Hampshire), a 27-year-old Law student who just completed her PhD in Law at the McGill University. After all, it appears that Trotsky's first wife was called Alexandra. Obviously, the love story is so cheesy and that Alexandra will fall for Leon at the end of the film.

As the The Trotsky’s storyline advances, director/scriptwriter Jacob Tierney piles up his unashamedly stereotyped observation about high school students and academia. For instance, Leon, who is played with charisma by Jay Baruchel, embodies the teenager from a rich family who needs a leftist cause to defend. It surely is a social stereotype depicted in a rather exaggerated way. However, any exaggeration in the script hits the nail right on the head, because it's not far from the truth. For instance, how many times have you seen high school students walk out of class just to have a day off when, in actuality, they're supposed to protest? How many times have you seen university teachers adhere (or adhered) to a leftist ideology while living like a "bourgeois"? All in all, expect to see a very honest humour from this film.

Finally, although The Trotsky won't revolutionize the genre of teenager comedies, it remains a cute story (because of the love story) and an honest film that has something to teach to teenagers. As a matter of fact, if you believe in something, don't give the impression that you believe in it; you have to sincerely show it through your words and deeds.

Besides, it feels good to see Montreal fully playing itself in this film. For instance, unlike most French Quebecker films, The Trotsky doesn't disguise Montreal as a city that is as ethnically homogeneous as a rural community of Quebec.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:Canada (2010)
Length:113 minutes
Screenplay:Jacob Tierney
Director:Jacob Tierney
Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, Saul Rubinek, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Jesse Camacho, Michael Murphy and Colm Feore

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