Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Trotsky Review

I saw promotions for this movie a while back in the theatres during the Cineplex pre-show and thought it looked kind of cheesy the way they promoted it.  But, when I saw it available on Movie Central on demand, I thought for free it cannot be a bad decision.  The story actually has a lot of potential to be a good film that has a message.  Regardless of your politics, it could have made quite a statement about unions and solidarity.  Instead, it tried to be a heartwarming story with any political message sent to the background.  In doing this, it kind of fails in both.

It is the story of a Montreal teenager who believes he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky and, as a result, he feels he has to live his life exactly as Trotsky did.  He does this to the point of forcing "Trotsky" events in his own life.  He starts by trying to unionize his father's factory and ends up trying to unionize his school.  This would have been a really good film if it had stayed with the factory story and the struggle between Leon and his father.  Not only would it have made a good sociopolitical statement, but it would have been able to exploit strong acting from Jay Baruchel and Saul Rubinek as their interactions are quite good.  Instead, they make Leon try to unionize a student body.  This comes off as laughable and not in a good way.  While this is a comedy, the story should not be the humorous part.  It should rely on good comedic writing and acting.

Technically, the film is OK.  It has that indie vibe with the lighting and camera work that most Canadian movies have.  But it also stays grounded and doesn't get too weird like indie movies so badly always want to do.  So I have to give Writer/Director Jacob Tierney credit for that.  The acting however, is sub par.  With the exceptions of Baruchel and Rubinek, everyone seemed to be fresh out of acting school and I would have expected better than that from Colm Feore.

The film really only succeeds in one thing: it is funny.  But they take it in such a disappointing direction and tack on a lame love story.  If I knew more about the life of Leon Trotsky, maybe it would have made more sense to me.  But I don't and would imagine that most of the people who read this will not as well.  The pros just do not measure up to the cons.  Don't bother seeing it.

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