Canadian and suspenseful aren’t two words that usually go hand-in-hand, but Montrealer Noël Mitrani pulls off quite a coup with The Kate Logan Affair, crafting a gripping drama that is both at once.
In true Canadian fashion, not much happens. But it’s in how he portrays the non-events that Mitrani draws us into his deceptively simple tale of two apparently decent people who get in way over their heads.
The non-action takes place in a small town in the Canadian Midwest LET’’S CHECK THIS TERM – think Fargo, mixed with Corner Gas. Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) is the titular rookie cop. She starts off the film by arresting Benoît Gando (a perfectly inscrutable Laurent Lucas), whom she mistakes for a serial rapist who has been terrorizing the area.
In fact, he’s a French insurance agent in town for a conference. Realizing her error, Logan lets him go. When the two cross paths later that day, she apologizes and invites him out for a drink.
The tension mounts as they begin an affair. Is Gando in fact the rapist? We’re not sure. He calls his wife daily to check in, and keeps to himself at the conference, preferring the anonymity of his roadside motel to the fancy hotel where the others are staying. He does pushups and sit-ups daily. But we are left wondering what goes on behind his cool, occasionally tense exterior.
One night in his room, Logan hands him her service revolver so he can feel what it’s like to hold it. But innocent fun turns serious when he accidentally fires it, causing her to panic. Her fellow officers will soon be on their way, she explains, and her career will be over once it is revealed that she kept her firearm on her with her while off-duty.
The two end up on the run, at her insistence, while she tries to think up “a way out that doesn’t involve me losing my job or you losing your wife.” But the deeper they get, the less clear it is who’s leading whom, and where the real danger lies.
Bledel is perfectly cast, conveying Logan’s insecurities, her attempts to assert herself and, as the film goes on, her steely resolve.
She’s an inexperienced officer who forgets to fill her tires and has a troubled relationship with her bum of a dad. But she takes the lead in her encounters with Gando, pushing her way into his life and prompting the events that lead to the pair’s problems.
Like his two lead actors, Mitrani plays his cards close to his chest. He drops just enough clues to pique our curiosity and play to our fears, while keeping us on the edge of our seat until the film’s disturbing conclusion.By T’cha Dunlevy, The Gazette,