Picture Claire

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“Bit of a tossed salad – in need of more tossing.”

Set over one day, more or less, in Toronto, this can’t make up its mind whether to be a tense thriller, or an art-house drama. The result is an uneasy blend, where most of the elements are fine, yet the overall result falls short of completely satisfying. Quebecois Claire (Lewis, spouting an irritating French accent, and shouting “Beelee!” a lot) travels to Toronto in search of a photographer with whom she had a brief relationship. She doesn’t initially find him, but ends up chief suspect in a murder committed by Lily (Gershon), and also the only person who knows the whereabouts of Lily’s film canister, which is being sought by a psychotic criminal (Rennie).

It’s definitely Canadian: Claire’s lack of English and Toronto’s ignorance of French, jab at provincialism in a country with two official languages. Still, it’s fast-paced, and Beresford’s use of split screens sometimes adds tension, as when Lily chases after Claire’s taxi, which is stopped at a red light. Of course, at others, the results look like a pointlessly frame-obsessed website. Either way, Gershon is particularly good, and you’re left feeling there’s much more to discover about Lily. This is made clear from her casual, broad-daylight garroting of the sleazy Eddie (Rourke) in a cafe, when she merely suspects him of a double-cross. How Lily got hold of that film-canister is probably a movie in itself.

Dir: Bruce Beresford
Star: Juliette Lewis, Gina Gershon, Callum Keith Rennie, Mickey Rourke

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