The criminal cop and the stranger in town are but two of many conventions in the second feature from writer/ director Noël Mitrani (Sur la trace d’Igor Rizzi). Frenchman Benoît (Laurent Lucas) is in Canada for a conference. He checks into a Bates-style motel because it makes him feel like he’s “in an American movie.” His dream comes to life, as he’s soon sucked into a Hollywood-style thriller.
Rookie policewoman Kate Logan (Alexis Bledel) mistakes him for a rapist and arrests him; he’s let go once she realizes her mistake. But she spots him later and invites him for a drink. Next thing you know, they’re in bed together. When some flirtatious gunplay results in an accidental discharge (none of that was euphemistic), Kate’s hinted-at psychosis goes into full swing: under her lead, they steal a car and take off from the authorities.
The Rockies make a gorgeous backdrop, and Kate Logan features solid performances. Lucas makes the jump from someone who’s never committed a crime or cheated on his wife to adulterous fugitive—whom we continue to root for—seem natural. Bledel deftly straddles Gilmore Girl and Sin City prostitute here as a crush-addled young woman (Kate says “jerk” and “cool” a lot) with daddy issues and a dark side. However, Noémie Godin-Vigneau’s minor role as Benoît’s wife is the most powerfully played character.
Mitrani wrote the film in French, then rewrote it in English. Too bad it seems…translated. The often heavy-handed and predictable script is the weakest link in an otherwise well-put-together genre flick. ■By CRYSTAL CHAN