Published Oct 28, 2010Undoubtedly, some of the greatest films that Canada has to offer come from French-speaking Canada. Titles like Sonatine, Leolo and Polytechnique are just a few that come to mind when I think of truly great Canadian films. And while Quebec fares all right, with grotesque absurdist comedy like Cadavres or Rats & Rabbits, their attempts at straight comedy, much like France, are terrible.
Filiere 13 isn't an exception to this rule, playing out like a self-consciously homophobic combination of Bon Cop, Bad Cop and Stakeout, with the broadest possible comedy and awkward, protracted setups that leave an uncomfortable void where laughter is intended.
Because nothing is funnier than men that have human emotions, Thomas (Claude Legault) does his surly, misanthropic cop shtick while suffering severe tension headaches that lead him to screw up on the job. Waxing butch leather and denim, with his plaid, sleeveless shirts and effortless buzz cut, he's an unlikely partner for the effeminate, overly styled Jean-Francois (Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge), whose social anxiety puts him on the police force shit list after fudging a televised conference.
Both men have female troubles, with Thomas fearing women and Jean-Francois' emotional state putting a strain on his marriage, which connect them to hyper-reactive boss Benoit (Paul Doucet), whose wife has just left him. This becomes relevant after the comedy shenanigans of a routine stakeout go awry, connecting these failed men in an overly affected ode to male camaraderie.
Since the attempts at humour never really work, being limited to close-ups of an angered Thomas while people make noise, or Jean-Francois' bizarre decision to act like a stereotypical, flamboyant queer when caught in the home of their mark, the relationship dynamics take a front seat.
All of the women in the film are either shrill, manipulative bitches or are unrealistically idiosyncratic, leaving the men to exist in this weird vacuum of intense connectivity. With everything playing out like a romantic comedy, it honestly feels like the big reveal would have more to do with them blowing each other than awkwardly making amends with the women they quietly resent.
The result is unsettling and almost offensive in its singular, myopic male trappings. I'm a little surprised that this is finding release outside of Quebec. (Alliance)