(Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1987)
The underdevelopment of the drugs-and-money subplot is clearly deliberate; Lauzon wants to undercut the conventions of the genre by turning them to the service of a far more personal commentary on violence and male bonding, a condition that in his view pervades the mainstream as surely as the underground. Every act of violence is followed through to its emotional response, the film is gorgeous in both pastoral and industrial-wasteland modes, and Roger Lebel's performance as the doddering father is so clearly the best thing in the movie that it's no wonder Lauzon wants to keep him on screen. But despite a real visionary undertow that emerges most strongly in the final scenes, the overall effect is to reduce the underworld material not to archetype but to cliche. The prison rape, the sadistic queer cop, the bitch whore ex-girlfriend, the shootup in the skid row motel - these are all awfully familiar tools of the trade, and the compressed exposition deprives each one of the opportunity to show any added nuance or depth. And in the end the final scenes are also compromised by an affecting but peculiarly inappropriate sentimentality that makes one question the director's command of his themes. The glut of motorcycle-riding scenes doesn't help either, although when Lebel catches a ride even they are a pleasure.