Thursday, April 09, 2015

Review of ‘The Grand Seduction’

This film is very much in the tradition of small-community-conspires-to-deceive-outsider movies, as established by ‘Whisky Galore’ and refined by ‘Local Hero’. This is not nearly as good as the fore-runners. Apparently it’s a Canadian remake of an earlier Canadian film, which rather begs the question why bother? This one has Brendan Gleeson, but the other one looks like it might have been better. Oh, wait a minute, it was in French...presumably this was remade for the US market.

It’s watchable enough, though the deceived outside barely escapes the too-stupid-to-live designation in noticing what is going on. There is a vague sense that someone has cut all the more interesting parts out of the film. The enigmatic post-mistress who provides the love interest for the deceived outsider is barely a character at all. Nevertheless, at one point she raises the question as to whether the town will really benefit from having a petroleum waste reprocessing place – an issue which is never mentioned again, or even considered by any of the other inhabitants of this pristinely beautiful harbour.

Part of the process of the town being able to secure the oil company’s decision to locate its reprocessing plant there involves a personal bribe to one of the executives. This is presented as a technical challenge, and thus forms part of the plot (will the local bank manager be able to get this approved as a loan, or will he just steal the money from his own bank?) but it is not presented as a moral or a political element at all. It’s not even reflected on much by the characters – it’s just one more hurdle, like pretending to understand and like cricket.

Technical note: watched on telly via HDMI cable from laptop, because the film was downloaded.

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