People headed to the Atlantic Film Festival closing night screening of a new film from Montreal writer/director Jacob Tierney are in for a treat. In this, only his second feature, the filmmaker has managed to accomplish what so many Hollywood efforts have failed to do: make an affecting (and funny) teen movie, with an added bonus of political and historical subtext.
The son of successful Montreal businessman David (Saul Rubinek), Leon (Jay Baruchel) is dissatisfied with his bourgeois lifestyle and desperate to empower the workers in his dad's factory. You see, Leon believes he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, and as such he has a flow-chart of future achievements he believes are his destiny based on Trotsky's life, including getting married to Alexandra (a doctoral student he meets, played by Emily Hampshire) and avoiding assassination, but only for so long. His frustrated father consigns him to public school, which only fuels Leon's fire, as he embraces a student body disenfranchised, lorded over by an uncaring, fascistic faculty, led by Principal Berkhoff (a jaw-clenching Colm Feore) and bureaucratic school board, personified by Ms Archambault (Genevieve Bujold).
Baruchel, who was in Chaz Thorne's Just Buried
and Hollywood comedy hits Tropic Thunder, Knocked Up
and Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist
is hilarious here. Stylistic antecedents of The Trotsky
include Wes Anderson's Rushmore
and more than a few moments from John Hughes's Ferris Bueller's Day Off
, but the cast and Montreal setting give it a particular, familiar Canadian spin.
screens at 7pm, Saturday, September 26 at the Oxford Cinema. Tickets are $15.
I hope all y'all had a great Atlantic Film Festival. I certainly did. See you at the movies... ~C