Filiere 13 Patrick Huard

Filiere 13 Patrick Huard
The buddy cop/action-comedy genre has always been self-consciously homophobic, delving into masculinity signifiers while developing an unlikely, and eventually unifying, male bond in heightened, emotional, life threatening situations. They often feature men emasculated or martyred, failing in traditional roles as caregiver, with women either leaving them (Stakeout) or worse, dying on their watch (Lethal Weapon). This creates a void, where identity is concerned, relying on police partnerships to reaffirm their ability to protect and command by firing guns, engaging in car chases and eventually capturing and dominating men that threaten society's sanctity and Judeo-Christian morals. This reinforces their previously questioned virility. Filiere 13 seems partially aware of these clichés, propelling its plot forward with the unlikely pairing of the surly, gruff Thomas (Claude Legault) and the overly effeminate, styled Jean-Francois (Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge). Both suffering from psychological ailments — Thomas, debilitating migraines, and Jean-Francois, social anxiety — they rebuild their denigrated images while assigned a crap stakeout assignment of a housebound woman linked to a suspected criminal. Inevitably, they bicker and screw up, learning of each other's fallibilities and regaining self-confidence through solidarity, which is fine, but their collective awkwardness, resentment and ineptitude in regards to women creates a strange, overwhelming homoerotic vibe throughout. It's exacerbated by Jean-Francois' decision to mask himself as a flaming homosexual housecleaner when caught trespassing, animatedly conversing with criminals while Thomas watches and smiles. This peculiar duality makes for uncomfortable viewing, since the trajectory suggests a budding gay romance regardless of blatant homophobia and latent misogyny. Furthermore, the terrible, distinctly French-Canadian comedy of the film is groan-inducing at best, which is especially problematic when the actual plot is so routine and predictable it's almost incidental. Without success in story, action or comedy, all that is left is the characterizations, which, as mentioned, are exceedingly unsettling. Somewhere in here is a kernel of wisdom and purpose, but I'm personally at a loss as to what it might be. The DVD includes a "Here 'n' Now" elastic bracelet, which is relevant to the film as an overpriced psychological tool to remedy the characters' present anxieties. (Alliance)