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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
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