I won’t say much. Not because I don’t have time or I don’t have the motivation to. This is a film that should be experienced firsthand, as should most of Villeneuve’s work.
I adore director Denis Villeneuve. He’s likely my favorite film director currently living. With works like Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Enemy, I know he’s capable of great things behind the camera. Polytechnique was a film I originally intended to watch earlier on when my brother and I were marathoning his work, but the lack of a source with English subtitles prevented it. (The entire film is spoken in French.) I found a source with subtitles, so I jumped on it.
The massacre at Polytechnique Montréal still ranks as Canada’s deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history. Polytechnique explores the event itself, as well as the before and after, that rocked the country at its core back in 1989. At only 77 minutes with credits, there’s not much here that the film covers that an extensive docu-drama likely would otherwise. It’s a tightrope of deciding what to highlight and what not to. Villeneuve tends to do this pretty well.
All I could say to those going into it—should one go into it (it’s pretty intense)—would be to keep your mind open. Look at each shot with eyes wide open. Listen to the words, involve yourself with what’s onscreen. What’s shown is pretty straightforward when it has to be (a la the massacre itself), but Villeneuve puts a little sprinkle of intrigue to each scene, particularly before and after the gun begins to fire.
Emotional and unrelenting, it’s a traumatizing depiction of Canada’s bloodiest day. Villeneuve as the director makes this more impactful than any ordinary director probably could, which makes me respect his craft all the more. It’s a short, but sweet (objective term) tale of a depressing moment in human history. Watch it.
Final Score: 8/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.