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Whitewash (2014) good movie
Canada, 90 min, Rated 14A (ON) G (QC)
Reviewed 01/14, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca
www.ofrb.gov.on.ca | www.rcq.gouv.qc.ca

Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais - Director
Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais and Marc Tulin - Screenplay
André Turpin - Cinematography


"In the midst of a violent snowstorm, a drunken middle-aged man runs over and kills someone with his yellow sidewalk snowplow. He wakes up at the wheel, deep in the forest unaware of where he is, and must rely on the weapon of his crime to survive the harsh winter conditions." - international.eonefilms.com/films/whitewash


Thomas Haden Church stars as Anglophone rural Québec snow plow driver and booze-addled widower Bruce Landry, thrown into panicked isolation after a snowy night drive through town results in Landry killing a man and dumping the body before fleeing with his plow into the deep woods, in debuting Canadian director Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais' brilliantly macabre first feature film. Whitewash co-stars Marc Labrèche, as bilingual Francophone IT executive and compulsive gambler Paul Blackburn - Landry's victim.

An award-winning advertising and short film director in Quebec, Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais was awarded the 2014 Claude Jutra Award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television for Whitewash. The Academy's Canadian Screen Awards also nominated Labrèche for Best Supporting Actor, and co-writers Hoss-Desmarais and Marc Tulin for Best Original Screenplay this year. Additionally, Whitewash garnered Hoss-Desmarais a nomination for Best Feature Film Direction by the Directors Guild of Canada, and won him the Best New Narrative Director award when the film debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013.

Holy cripes, this is such an amazing movie. Thomas Haden Church commands the screen from beginning to closing credits here, completely immersing himself in Landry's often low key yet quirky decay into guilt-riddled madness. You see him alone, stuck in this wintry wilderness. Stuck in his head, replaying the events that have landed him there. Hunched in the dimly lit cabin of his banged up, standard yellow 35-year-old single seat Bombardier Snow Kat plow, calmly practicing being interrogated by police about what happened to Blackburn. Denying they were more than small town acquaintances. Squirming. Blaming the snow plow. Awesome.

The movie starts off leading you to believe Landry's hit-and-run was merely a goofy, script-fabricated accident contrived to get him into the woods in a broken down sidewalk snow plow. That the story is little more than an anecdotal, one-man showcase for Church to play at tilting sideways while surviving a brutally cold Canadian winter - or, what Canadians call a normal week, nine months of the year. Thankfully, there's so much more to this well-crafted screenplay for a paying audience to enjoy. There's a secondary story of flashbacks that soon begins to dole out wonderfully measured puzzle pieces of Landry and Blackburn's larger picture. Was it an accident? What really happened? You're not quite sure, until the third act. (Read more)

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