?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Picture Claire (movie post)






The protagonist of Picture Claire is Claire, a French Canadian woman whose apartment in Montreal is burned down. She decides to start new life in Toronto with Billy Stuart, a photographer with whom she had a brief romance. A series of bad luck and her inability to speak or understand English result in all sorts of misunderstandings, and Claire ends up getting chased by the police as well as by the psychotic hitman Laramie. Who is, of course, played by Callum Keith Rennie.



The IMDB page: Picture Claire (2001)

Juliette Lewis credits include Cape Fear, Kalifornia, Romeo Is Bleeding, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Natural Born Killers, From Dusk Till Dawn, Starski and Hutch, and Cold Creek Manor.
Gina Gershon has an impressively long list of credits, just a few of them are Showgirls, Bound, Face/Off, The Insider and P.S. I Love You, she also appears in episodes of Snoops, Tripping the Rift, Crossing Jordan, Ugly Betty and Rescue Me .
Mickey Rourke is best known for his films Nine 1/2 Weeks, Angel Heart, Barfly, Johnny Handsome, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, the Sin City movies.
Tracy Wright's worked with Bruce McDonald before, in Highway 61, Elimination Dance and Twitch City. Her credits include also The Kids in the Hall, Last Night, Dice, Childstar, Slings and Arrows.
And lastly, Dean McDermott, now mostly known for being together with Tory Spelling, but who was so much cooler as Cobstable Turnbull in Due South, has a small role in this as well.

Writer Semi Chellas is listed as writer and producer of The Life Before This (with CKR), The Eleventh Hour (in which CKR, Paul Gross and Hugh Dillon were guest stars), and of the upcoming Of Murder and Memory (with CKR and Hugh Dillon).

The director of Picture Claire is Bruce McDonald. His credits include Roadkill (which is Don McKellar's debut), Highway 61 (also with Don McKellar, and Tracy Wright), The Hidden Room (with Mimi Kuzyk, who was also in Little Criminals with CKR), Dance Me Outside (which was Hugh Dillon's first movie), the TV movie The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess (also with Hugh Dillon), and The Tracey Fragments (with Ellen Page who, of course, was in Wilby Wonderful with CKR). And of course Hard Core Logo (with CKR and, again, with Hugh Dillon) and Twitch City (with Don McKellar and CKR and Molly Parker and Tracey Wright. And Hugh Dillon).
He also directed several episodes of TV series like Lexx, Queer as Folk, ReGenesis (with Peter Outerbridge, and Hugh Dillon in a guest role), Degrassi: The Next Generation (including some episodes with, wait for it, Hugh Dillon) as well as numerous music videos including works for The Pursuit of Happiness and The Headstones.



Cast / Characters (in order of importance / screentime):

Juliette Lewis
Gina Gershon
Kelly Harms
Callum Keith Rennie
Peter Stebbings
Camilla Rutherford
Tracy Wright
Raoul Bhaneja
Mickey Rourke

Claire Beaucage
Lily Warden
Billy Stuart
Laramie
Culver
Cynthia Lacey
Detective Sweeney
Detective Lee
Eddie



Year: 2001

Runtime: 91 min

Country: Canada | USA

IMDB rating: 5.6/10 (432 votes)

Genre: Thriller | Neo Noir | Independent Film

Keywords: Neo Noir | Independent Film



Awards:

Won: Best Ontario Feature 2001 for Bruce McDonald

no further nominations



IMDB lists 17 user comments, written mostly by fans of Juliette Lewis and Gina Gershon, most of them quite positive. I have trouble agreeing with any of them, apart from the one titled Worth it for 'Claire's Hat'.

One example:
Juliette Lewis convincingly plays Claire, a French speaking woman from Montreal who goes to Toronto in search of a boyfriend. She runs into trouble in Toronto when she is mistakenly ID'd as a suspect who murdered a man in a coffee shop. The unusual twist is that Claire does not know a word of English, all she knows is that she's being pursued by the police, a woman who wants something from her (played by Gina Gershon) and a bad man (played by Callum Keith Rennie) who also wants something from her and probably wants to kill her for it. How can Claire figure all this out, get herself out of trouble and still be able to find her boyfriend?

It's not a great film, there are alot of plot holes and weird coincidences. What really shines are some of the exciting chase scenes and the wonderful acting by everyone in the film. Juliette Lewis doesn't speak much, and when she does, it's in French. She is very watchable because one can see all the emotions she is going through. I really felt for her because she was in a strange city and was pretty helpless because there was no one to guide her. Gina Gershon is perfect as the criminal who is desperately trying to get away. Ms. Gershon seems to always play these roles of tough, smart woman and she does it very well in this film. Callum Keith Rennie makes a very smooth, very charming, psychopathic bad guy. He's very charming when he speaks, but one can't help feeling how dangerous and evil he is. I'd give the film an "A" for acting, a "C" for plot, and a "B" for the director because I like the way how he directed and shot this film. There was this one imagery in the film that I love, when Claire goes into a thrift shop and steal a pair of red shoes that reminds me of the ruby slippers in the "Wizard of Oz" and a little dog from the thrift shop starts following her around. Claire's definitely not in Kansas any more!


You can find all the comments here.



Callum Quotient: about 15%. It feels like more though, which is a good thing.



Pictures:











The trailer is available on YouTube:





Quotes:
  • Laramie: If you know Eddie, you know that... I hope you don't mind if I speak frankly. Eddie likes to befriend a certain kind of girl. One who likes to carry a briefcase, who changes out of her fucking tennis shoes when she gets to work.

  • Culver: How about, you know, I'll go in and talk to her?
    Laramie: I'll go. (laughs)
    Culver: Why don't you stay here and, you know, calm down a bit.
    Laramie: I am caaalm.
    Culver: Yah, that was... that was pretty rash, I thought.
    Laramie: Look, I have no idea what he thought he was protecting. I have no patience for chivalry.

  • Laramie: Look, she's made it to customs, she's feeling clever. She has them hidden. They're in her lipstick, they're in her freezer, ...her sugarbowl.
    Culver: Please, how do you even know she has a sugarbowl? How do you know she's even there?
    Laramie: She's there. And deep down, she's hoping that someone like you will call on her. She wants to tell you what happened, she wants to tell you where they are, she wants it over more than she wants to survive. Women... are really fucking predictable. So you're often able to tell what a woman's gonna do before she even thinks it herself.

  • Laramie: Eventually you'll give it to me. Women tend to capitulate in these types of situations, it's their practical nature.
    ...Don't make me cut off your fucking fingers.

  • Laramie: I suggest if you plan on using that, do it now, get it over with. No one else lives in this shit pit, no one's gonna hear a shot. I mean, you're a smart girl, you've been thinking it through, right? You shot a gun before, right? What if you miss, how is the recoil on that gun? Do you even know what a recoil is? Is that fucking thing even fucking loaded?

  • Laramie: Women. Fuuuck.




Trivia:
  • According to IMDB during location filming on a Toronto street, a woman was arrested for causing a disturbance after the filmmakers called for silence and she refused to stop blowing a whistle.

  • The film premiered at the Toronto Filmfestival on September 10th 2001, but was unable to attain screentime in the theaters after that (at least partly due to Bruce McDonald himself, who openly admitted in interviews that he was not happy with how the movie turned out). It was directly released to DVD.

  • The working title of the movie was Claire's Hat.

  • Claire's Hat is also the title of an excuse film by Bruce McDonald, in an attempt to pardon himself for the terrifyingly bad bomb he'd produced. This attempt was successful, I'd like to add.

  • When Claire pulls down posters for Billy's show underneath are posters for the Toronto punk band Headstones' last album, Nickels For Your Nightmares.

  • The pawn shop is named "Pontypoole," a reference to one of McDonald's dream projects.



Interesting scenes:

  • The scenes outside Billy's apartment were shot at Kensington Market, the same place where Curtis apartment in the Twitch City series was located.

  • Claire steals a pair of red shoes that remind of the ruby slippers in the "Wizard of Oz" and a little dog from the thrift shop starts following her around.

  • Lily, after being shot, lies in the same position as Claire in the photograph.

  • Every scene with Laramie talking about women. Or to women. Also Laramie sucking on a straw.




Do I want to show this to my parents / friends / co-workers?
Poll #1218693 Picture Claire

Overall rating

Excellent. Really. Totally.
0(0.0%)
It's good. I mean it.
3(12.0%)
It's not, like, great, or anything. But it's an okay movie.
11(44.0%)
Well, it's... I've seen worse? Much worse. Honest.
10(40.0%)
Worst. Movie. Ever.
0(0.0%)

Violence

Violence? In this movie? Are you kidding me? It's positively fluffy.
0(0.0%)
No. I mean, I guess, if you really, really want to see it... there might be some?
0(0.0%)
Well, there's some violence. Not too much though.
2(8.0%)
It has criminals. And a psychopathic hitman. What do you think?
20(80.0%)
Eep.
1(4.0%)

Humor

I couldn't stop laughing. I still can't stop, actually.
0(0.0%)
Absolutely, if you like the darker kind of humor.
3(12.0%)
Some moments were quite funny, yeah.
5(20.0%)
Here and there? You have to look for it.
13(52.0%)
Well, no. Unless you have a very weird kind of humor. And even then? No?
4(16.0%)

Sexual content

All the time. There's nothing else, actually.
0(0.0%)
Quite a lot. People are getting naked. And, you know, doing... stuff. Not all of them though.
1(4.0%)
A bit. Not too much, not to little. Some characters have just to be there. Hi, Laramie!
13(52.0%)
Well, some. And some implied. And some right there in your head. I can see it.
8(32.0%)
No sex, no sexy people, nothing implied, nothing. Are you sure that is a CKR film?
0(0.0%)

Sexual violence

Definitely not. These characters don't even know what these words mean.
2(8.3%)
You know, a bit? I guess? If you look closely?
8(33.3%)
Some of the guys seem to have, you know, problems. Sometimes. I guess.
11(45.8%)
It's Laramie's favorite kind of thing. And Eddie's, too. Just telling you what I see.
3(12.5%)
That's what that film is about.
0(0.0%)




What about Laramie?
Poll #1218694 Laramie

Character

He's awesome. Nice, and brave, and funny. And smart. And cute. Also, he's the hero of the movie.
1(4.0%)
A good guy, definitely. He has problems, like everyone else. (Like, he really hates his mother?) But he's trying to be good.
0(0.0%)
Your everyday guy. Not a great guy, mind you. Sometimes he's an asshole, sometimes he's the nicest guy in the world. Normal, you know?
0(0.0%)
Not a good guy, no. Definitely not. It's not like he kills people or anything. Okay, so he does. But he really likes his job?
15(60.0%)
He kills kittens. And puppies. And then he eats them. For breakfast.
8(32.0%)

How many people does he kill?

No one! Of course not! He could never do that!
0(0.0%)
One. Maybe. It was in self defense though. He didn't have a choice!
0(0.0%)
Some? Not more than three. Or five maybe. It's not like he has fun doing that.
8(32.0%)
Five to ten, I guess? It doesn't really make a difference to him. It's his JOB, okay?
12(48.0%)
Hundreds. Maybe more. It's his thing.
3(12.0%)

Craziness

Sanest. Person. Ever. I wish I could be like him. I might get bored soon though.
0(0.0%)
A bit, maybe. Less than me, that's for sure!
0(0.0%)
Well, normal, you know? He has a stressful job. You'd be a bit crazy too! Therapy sessions might help?
8(32.0%)
Um. He's quite crazy. It could be worse though! I guess.
14(56.0%)
He's the craziest person EVER. Scary crazy, you know? It's because he hates paper clips.
2(8.0%)

Hotness

Very hot. Very, VERY hot. Trust me on this. Might be the crazy. Possible.
14(56.0%)
Hot. Definitely hot. Quite hot, really.
8(32.0%)
He's, you know, pretty. Which is kind of hot. In a way.
1(4.0%)
I don't know. Not my thing. Might be yours though!
1(4.0%)
Um. Ew?
0(0.0%)

Queerness

Hello? He HATES women? Why do you think that is?
2(8.0%)
You know, every now and then. He wouldn't tell anyone, of course. And he's always the top. Or always the bottom. That's possible too.
3(12.0%)
Possibly? It's really hard to tell in his case. Crazy is not the same as queer, you know?
8(32.0%)
I doubt it. Just that he doesn't like woman doesn't mean that he has a thing for men.
3(12.0%)
No. Way. He hates women, but I bet he hates queers even more. And not because of suppressed homosexuality.
6(24.0%)




Does he die?
You really want to know? Are you sure? Really sure? You won't blame me for spoiling you, right? Well, then. (highlight to read)

::Of course he dies. But I won't tell you who kills him.::




Articles/interviews

Heist is a 4-letter word

In May 2000, [Bruce McDonald] was about to approach the Montreal producer in the usual way- letters, phone calls, requests for a meeting- until [Robert Lantos] gave him a crash course in the art of showbiz negotiating, mogul style.

He told McDonald to go to Montreal and show up in the producer's office unannounced. Then Lantos gave McDonald a suitcase full of cash- $20,000 in $100 bills.

In fact, McDonald demonstrated a bit of his own sharp gamesmanship that astonished even Lantos. He bought back the rights to Picture Claire for $15,000- and returned the remaining $5,000 cash to Lantos.

...


This abstract is taken from a longer article at TheStar.com.



Genesis

In 1994, director Bruce McDonald met screenwriter Semi Chellas at a party where he outlined a story idea he'd been toying with for a year. "I was very enthusiastic about it," said Chellas, recalling how she picked up the concept and ran with it. "At the end of our conversation, Bruce just stopped and asked me if I'd like to write the screenplay for him. I was speechless. He offered to pay my rent until I finished the first treatment. This was a huge break for me."

McDonald introduced Picture Claire to a production company in Montreal, but he soon discovered there were speed bumps slowing its progress. "This is a deceptively expensive film: different locations, shooting at night and it's an action film. It looks like a small movie on the page, but it's actually a complex design."

Early in 1997, the script for Picture Claire landed on the desk of producer Robert Lantos, while he was Chairman and CEO of Alliance Communications. It was at this point that Lantos entered the picture, ready, willing and able to green-light the project, "Unfortunately, Bruce was not in the same position because he had already pledged it elsewhere." So, Lantos stepped back, but kept track of McDonald's progress. Time went by and still the film never came to fruition.

In the fall of 1998, when Lantos merged Alliance with Atlantis and launched Serendipity Point Films, he was still interested in making Picture Claire. The rights, held by another producer, were successfully acquired and Lantos began production.



To begin with, screenwriter Semi Chellas was brought up to speed and took a fresh look at the script. Lantos recalls, "It was a great script to begin with and it's even a better script now." By July of 2000, casting had begun. Serendipity Point Films considered talent from across Canada, the U.S. and Britain. While casting in Los Angeles, Juliette Lewis walked onto the balcony of the Chateau Marmont Hotel and immediately connected with Lantos, McDonald and co-producer, Julia Rosenberg.


Taken from the official website of Picture Claire at Serendipity Point.



McDonald On His Cast

"Juliette Lewis is an original. She's made brave choices and she's very physical in her work which is important when you have a character who doesn't speak the language of the film."

"Gina has that 1960s film noir Italian thing going. Gina's beautiful with that touch of class that Lily carries, all the time remembering that the character has a shady past, having had her fall from grace in the corporate world."

"Callum Keith Rennie is one of the only Canadian male actors who has that really masculine cool. He is matineé handsome, but with some miles on him and an edge. At our reading, it was fun to see him trying on wildly different personas for the part, like an effete British villain and then a Christopher Walken bad guy. In the end, he went with the kind of person who really enjoys what he's doing, but he didn't play it as the 'fun boy' right through the end."



"Robert brought Camilla Rutherford to my attention and told me to look at his film, STARDOM. When I saw cheeky little Camilla, I thought she's great. She's British which makes her another foreign girl in Toronto and that's a nice balance with Claire being from Montreal. Camilla's unusual because she's very beautiful and has a great sense of place, a great sense of owning things."


Taken from the official website of Picture Claire at Serendipity Point.



Lantos On The Cast

"It's usually Canadian actors who adapt their accents and mannerisms to play Americans. We knew Juliette Lewis would nail this role. As an actor, she has tremendous range and in the movie she looks like she is born in the east end of Montreal."

"As well, One of the best things about Picture Claire is that I get to work with Gina Gershon. She is, at once, one of the smartest and sexiest actresses working in film today,"



"Mickey Rourke was our model for Eddie. We never actually thought he would play the part, but we used him as the archetype to describe the kind of actor we were looking for. And then serendipity struck and his agent called, saying, 'How about Mickey Rourke?'"


You might note that, unlike Bruce McDonalds, he has nothing to say about Callum Keith Rennie. Just saying.

Taken from the official website of Picture Claire at Serendipity Point.



Rennie On Picture Claire

"Bruce is the Scorsese to my Canadian De Niro. That's how comfortably we work together. I have complete respect for what he wants. Bruce gives his actors a great freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility. There's flamboyance in the script, but I played against it because I didn't think it served the story. Laramie comes from a black market background. He's casual about this job because it's not a day adventure. Culver is just a passing acquaintance and the job is supposed to take ten minutes. But it takes the whole day, so Culver is in over his head after ten minutes is up. Culver doesn't really know what Laramie is all about and Laramie doesn't care what Culver is about. Culver is just along for the ride...until he's not."




Taken from the official website of Picture Claire at Serendipity Point.



Locations

One of the unexpected luminaries in Picture Claire is Toronto. "This film presents a wonderful opportunity to take the underbelly of the city and put it on camera. Amazingly, for a location where hundreds and hundreds of movies have been shot, it's very camera-fresh. It rarely if ever plays itself and when it does, it's in a very marginal way," explains Lantos. Audiences should not expect to see the postcard version of Toronto, but rather the texture and tapestry of the city's cultural and ethnic pockets.

The locations of Kensington Market, Little Italy, the Great Hall of Union Station and the city's signature skyline were selected not only because they are key elements of Toronto, but also "for the way all the structures are right on top of each other," explains Locations Manager, Gabe Fallus. As the events of the movie conspire to close in on Claire and Lily, so too do the streets and the storefronts.



Kensington Market, with its open food stands spilling out onto the streets, is the setting for Lily and Billy's apartment building, plus the Apollo Donut Shop. The abundant textures and the multicultural crush of local residents mirror the chaotic experience of the characters. Even during production it became difficult to differentiate between the residents of the market and the extras in the movie.

Little Italy was another example of working with a prime visual location. "It's one thing to select a site, but it's completely another to find the ideal angle which captures the essence of that locale. "We picked a spot on College Street where there's very good geometry - curving to bring prime perspective to the camera. Narrower streets, smaller storefronts closer together, and rich visuals," says Fallus. "Even the streetcars, another unique aspect to the city, run right through the set." To coordinate these locations took longer than usual for a feature film. "You can shoot a film in the six weeks time we took to prep for this one."


Taken from the official website of Picture Claire at Serendipity Point.



Bruce's Hat larger size: Director returns to film with bigger budget, Hollywood stars

By: Bob Thompson - Toronto Sun

He looks more like a cowboy bouncer outside a biker bar than a first-rate Canadian director.

That's Bruce McDonald.



Wandering around a downtown Toronto alley in the middle of the night, he's resplendent in a scrunched-down brown cowboy hat and long black leather jacket.

McDonald is not hanging out, but preparing to film a scene from his latest movie, Claire's Hat, showcasing Juliette Lewis, Gina Gershon and Mickey Rourke.

The lights, the big camera and the crew at work around the trucks give away the task at hand. But if McDonald feels the strain and the pressure as the go-to-guy, he's not showing it.

The 39-year-old casually sits on the back of an equipment truck while grips and gaffers dress up the alley for the shoot.

"You forget," says a friendly McDonald, looking around at the slow but steady activity, "how long it takes to get anything done. It still amazes me."

His memory isn't failing him, it's just hazy. The director of Hard Core Logo, Dance Me Outside, Highway 61 and Roadkill has been out of the film business for five years, doing lots of rapid-fire TV stuff.

Claire's Hat ("A fun noir adventure," he says) marks his return to the feature game, and he seems creatively excited and personally relieved.

"TV is great but it's not a director's medium," he says. "It really is for writer-producers."

Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, McDonald made the transition smoothly from film to TV with some high-profile moments, most notably Twitch City.

The Claire's Hat project had been kicking around since '93 when he came up with the idea, then later had a friend, Semi Challas, fashion his outline into a screenplay.

A few years ago McDonald hooked up with producer Robert Lantos and his Serendipity Point Films, which obtained the rights and got the feature into a "go" mode this fall.

For McDonald, Claire's Hat is departure in a couple of ways. It's the first time he's not producing his own picture. He's also directing well-known American actors.

"I've done four movies without movie stars," McDonald says. "Maybe this is the one to do it."

Actually, McDonald and Lantos mutually "agreed that this was the way to take" Claire's Hat.

When Lewis "walked into a casting session in Los Angeles" to audition for the lead, McDonald considered himself fortunate. Gershon and Rourke followed.

Commercial opportunism aside, the director has not gone over to the mainstream, abandoning his Canadian content in the process. Lewis' Claire is a Quebecois streetnik from Montreal who desperately heads to Toronto for help.

Yes, for once Toronto plays itself.

As for the Hollywood hired hands? McDonald shrugs.

"It gives us the extra little push," he says. "We can compete in a world market, and we haven't compromised the integrity of the film by choosing some second-rate cheeseball actors."

With the name actors comes a bigger budget, "which buys some more time and design." And there's the luxury of allowing more care and attention to detail.

"It's not just rushing to connect the dots," he says. "You can add more layers."

We'll see what those results will be, perhaps by next fall. Meanwhile, McDonald promises that neither movie stars nor a bigger budget will change his independent maverick ways.



Five years of TV, on the other hand, might have had its negative impact. The trademark McDonald grin covers his face.

"No," he says, confessing that the television stretch was a good thing. "I became more confident."

Then he defines the experience the way only the street-wise McDonald can, like a cowboy bouncer at a biker bar.

"It's like target practice," he says of doing TV work. "You get to know how to handle the gun, and you become a pretty good shot."


Taken from the official website of Picture Claire at at Serendipity Point.



Picture Claire

Bruce McDonald, the enormously gifted director of Roadkill, Highway 61, Dance Me Outside, and Hard Core Logo, is back with his first theatrical release since 1996's Logo, the noirish mystery Picture Claire. The film features McDonald's typical attention to character, casting, location, and soundtrack, but with the addition of American actors in key roles and a heightened sense of style, it's clear that he's set his sights on crossover success south of the Canadian border.

Juliette Lewis plays the titular Claire, a girl from the wrong side of Montreal's tracks who has to leave town in a hurry. Remembering one-night stand Billy (Kelly Harms), a photographer who left her with an invitation to join him in Toronto, Claire heads east. But Billy isn't home when she arrives, and an unfortunate visit to a Kensington Market donut shop puts her in contact with sleazebag Eddie (Mickey Rourke, oozing his dependably creepy charm) and his partner and would-be squeeze, Lily (Gina Gershon in femme fatale mode). Claire is soon ensnared in a murder case and sought by the police, along with smuggler Culver (Peter Stebbings), and Eddie's enforcer, Laramie (a cheerfully psychotic Callum Keith Rennie). Plus, when the camera-shy protagonist goes looking for Billy at the gallery where he's about to have a big opening, she discovers that the focus of his show is a photo of her and that he already has a girlfriend (Camilla Rutherford). Oh, and Claire doesn't speak a word of English, so her reading of her predicament is fuzzy at best.

Stylistically, this is McDonald's most sophisticated film yet, making liberal use of split screens to advance the film's action and offer alternative viewpoints, as when Claire first knocks on Billy's door and one screen shows the reality of her situation, while the other plays a movie in her head of what she hopes is about to happen. And Picture Claire is that rare movie that offers a more realistic view of city living in a chase scene that an adrenaline junkie like John Frankenheimer or Peter Yates would never recognize. It's not exactly a slow-speed chase, more like a stop-and-go. Any urbanite who has ever walked to work rather than drive or take the bus — reasoning that walking is faster — will chortle in recognition.

At the outset, Claire announces that she's always felt like a visitor to Earth, a native of the moon. Semi Chellas' script returns to the theme of the alien again and again with Claire lost in what is essentially, to her, at least, a foreign city. There are sly references to The Wizard of Oz with Claire thrust in the unlikely role of Dorothy (complete with Toto, too), even as she imagines her alternate life amid the lunar landscape. There is also the idea that as apparently different as Claire and the slightly aphasic Lily are, there are parallels between them, notably in the lengths both women will go to in order to survive and in their difficulties in making themselves understood.

As is usually the case with McDonald's films, location plays a co-starring role and this time he turns the camera on his home base, Toronto. Much of the action takes place in the Kensington Market area, but there are also scenes downtown and in the subway, rhapsodic shots of the harbor, and a key moment unfolds in the vast beauty of the Beaux Arts Union Station. So many film crews come to Toronto for economic reasons and disguise the city as some other place, which is too bad since it is a beautiful city with a vibrant personality. An anonymous urban wasteland it isn't, a fact McDonald underlines in Picture Claire.

Though the performances of this large ensemble are strong, including Lewis in what was undoubtedly a difficult role (the actress had to learn Quebecois French for the role), Callum Keith Rennie steals the picture from his co-star. Whether he's merely sitting in a car bopping to the '60s pop hit "Sweet City Women," declaiming to Culver about the predictability of women, or menacing an elderly pawnbroker, Laramie may be the flipcase getting the most satisfaction from his work since a laughing Richard Widmark pushed the old lady down the stairs in Kiss of Death. He also gets the movie's best lines; listen carefully to Rennie's last speech, a hilarious and wacko variation of Clint Eastwood's .44 magnum monologue from Dirty Harry.

And that isn't the only playful citation in Picture Claire. On one wall in Lily's apartment, there's a poster for Criss Cross, a noir classic with themes of betrayal that are echoed here. The pawn shop is named "Pontypoole," a reference to one of McDonald's dream projects. At one point, Claire pulls down posters for Billy's show and underneath are posters for the Toronto punk band Headstones' last album Nickels for Your Nightmares, the band for whom McDonald has shot music videos, and fronted by Hard Core Logo star Hugh Dillon.

This sense of playfulness permeates Picture Claire. The humor is dark and while there are moments of violence, McDonald is a discreet filmmaker. He chooses to suggest brutality rather than show it a la Quentin Tarantino. The movie is better for it, balancing its black wit with suspense as its story unfolds by twists and turns. It starts slowly, but gradually picks up speed as it glides toward its explosive climax.

— Pam Grady


From here (scroll down a bit).




Links

The official website is here at serendipitypoint.com.

There's another review here.

meresy has scans of the TAKE ONE article on Picture Claire here.

malnpudl posted a brief review about the movie a loooong time ago. *g*

I posted some screencaps a while ago.

And that's all I could find. Which, I hope, means that I overlooked a lot of things you posted, right? I couldn't find pictures, gifs, meta, fanfiction, anything. Link me, please?




Availability

The movie is widely available, e.g. through amazon.com or Play.com




Final thoughts

Picture Claire is a movie about a woman who doesn't speak. According to the movie about the movie, Claire's Hat, that was director Bruce McDonald's starting point. If the concept itself was flawed from the beginning, if it was the execution, if it was a million other things that went wrong, who knows. The outcome is... well, I don't know what's it about, really. But it's slick, and shiny, and snappy, and kind of utterly boring. And somehow annoying.

For me, the biggest problem with this movie isn't the editing (even though it goes a bit far sometimes), or the way it is directed, or the plot. It's Juliette Lewis. From the beginning, she comes across as too naive, too self-centered (which is not easy to do in a movie where people are killed for money and fun), and, the biggest problem, as much too stupid. The reason for this might be that some of the best remembered roles of her career had been those of retarded and socially dysfunctional women. Then again, I'd like to think that even if you don't speak the language of the city you are in, it's not too much to ask to grasp the concept of street names.
In the end, I can't really care for her, or what happens for her, or how she sees things. And this, you know, is a problem.




And that's it. Thank you for reading and please let me know if you have anything to add. I will edit the post to include new information. If you posted or found something interesting about the movie in your LJ or somewhere else, essays, picspams, transcripts, theories... link me please?

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
malnpudl
Jul. 6th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
Awesome write-up! \c/

I posted a very brief and not terribly flattering review here, for what it's worth. (Wow, that was a long time ago. *g*)
c_regalis
Jul. 6th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)


And, hee, that was indeed a LONG time ago. In a LOT of ways. Interesting how thing change. *g*

And thank you! *edits*
callumvixen
Jul. 6th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
&hearts

Wonderful post! Lots of interesting information and ummmm pics mmmm.

"You forget," says a friendly McDonald, looking around at the slow but steady activity, "how long it takes to get anything done. It still amazes me."
I am constantly stunned at how true this is. And? I am in love with BMcD.

I totally agree with your final thoughts. If a viewer doesn't give a shit about the protagonist, who is annoying, dumb as a sack of bricks, totally self-absorbed and actually mean and snotty... well then the film is doomed from the start.
c_regalis
Jul. 6th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
I am constantly stunned at how true this is. And? I am in love with BMcD.

Ha! And how could you not?

If a viewer doesn't give a shit about the protagonist, who is annoying, dumb as a sack of bricks, totally self-absorbed and actually mean and snotty... well then the film is doomed from the start.

I. Love. You. My first version of the final thoughts was much more blunt regarding Claire's character. I thought it was maybe a bit much, and tried to cushion my opinion a little bit. Before that it sounded a lot like what I just quoted. *g*
(no subject) - callumvixen - Jul. 6th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - c_regalis - Jul. 6th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - callumvixen - Jul. 6th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
_unhurt_
Jul. 6th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
psychotic hitman Laramie. Who is, of course, played by Callum Keith Rennie.

hee. of COURSE!


la la la oh, you are talking about some hugh guy, hmm? maybe i should look him up? *is amusing to self*


Every scene with Laramie talking about women. Or to women. Also Laramie sucking on a straw.

HEE! *loves*


hmm. can i do the polls based on watching claire's hat? i am not sure, but i love the choices anyway.

Eep.



Well, no. Unless you have a very weird kind of humor. And even then? No?

HA!


i really like the first picture of bruce! he is having FUN! and the third one is awww, cute. lookit his beard and hat, bless!

and, because i haven't actually seen this film, i am almost liking it because i enjoyed claire's hat so much. sliver lining, right?

p.s. you win! \u/
c_regalis
Jul. 6th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
la la la oh, you are talking about some hugh guy, hmm? maybe i should look him up?

Maybe you should. I don't think he is your type though. *is just as easily amused*

You can totally do the poll based on what you have seen in Claire's Hat. *is easy*

i really like the first picture of bruce! he is having FUN! and the third one is awww, cute. lookit his beard and hat, bless!

Isn't he just? Yeah, I, uh, may have overdone it a bit with the Bruce pictures. But he's so CUTE! What do you expect me to DO?

and, because i haven't actually seen this film, i am almost liking it because i enjoyed claire's hat so much. sliver lining, right?

Hee, yes. And, like others said, It's worth it for Claire's Hat. :)

And thank yoooouuuu!
(no subject) - c_regalis - Jul. 6th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _unhurt_ - Jul. 6th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - c_regalis - Jul. 6th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
zabira
Jul. 6th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
YAY! fantastic post, and YES, i too am in love with bruce mcd right now (and...really...a lot of the time), even tho the film is, um, NOT LOVABLE. &hearts

i'd say it's worth it just for the last scenes with laramie, but since those are now available elsewhere, maybe that's not even true?
c_regalis
Jul. 6th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Yay for Bruce McDonald love! He deserves it!*

Well, the last scenes with Laramie (and ALL the scenes with Laramie) are still what makes the movie watchable, available elsewhere or not. Oh, and the Tracey Wright scenes, she quite awesome in this as well!

*BTW, any news?
(no subject) - zabira - Jul. 6th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
akite
Jul. 6th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
I did the poll based on Claire's Hat. I don't think I could sit through the actual movie. Great post! I think this icon is from Picture Claire. Of course, Laramie wasn't actually getting ready to kiss anybody, I think it's one from the straw sucking scene.
c_regalis
Jul. 6th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
It's totally okay to do the poll based on what you know from Claire's Hat. And hee, you icon isn't even from the straw sucking scene. It's just him talking, I think. *g*
meresy
Jul. 6th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaaaaaaawesome. *admires*
meresy
Jul. 6th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
P.S. I have scans of a Take One article on Picture Claire here. :D
(no subject) - c_regalis - Jul. 6th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - c_regalis - Jul. 6th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
neu111
Jul. 6th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Great post! One thing I like about the files is that they make me (re)watch the movies. Didn't remember much from this one, except boring and unsufferable pretend Quebecois girl and hot Laramie (4th picture!!!). And I didn't dislike it as much this time!

Claire steals a pair of red shoes that remind of the ruby slippers in the "Wizard of Oz" and a little dog from the thrift shop starts following her around. and Juliette Lewis.. comes across as too naive, too self-centered.. and, the biggest problem, as much too stupid.
Tin Man, same story: red shoes, dog, DG and Zero. And Gina Gershon as a botoxed Azkadellia?

He's awesome. Nice, and brave, and funny. And smart. And cute. Also, he's the hero of the movie.
We wish! So enticing I nearly voted for this one... Not surprised someone did!

cheerfully psychotic Callum Keith Rennie
Yeah, he has too much fun doing this, every film maker wants him to play one!

c_regalis
Jul. 7th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
Didn't remember much from this one, except boring and unsufferable pretend Quebecois girl and hot Laramie (4th picture!!!)

Ha! That's pretty much what I remembered as well. And, well, Clare's Hat. So, you know, there's that.

Tin Man, same story: red shoes, dog, DG and Zero. And Gina Gershon as a botoxed Azkadellia?

Hee! Sadly, as mediocre Picture Claire was, it doesn't even come close to the disaster Tin Man was. Or, you know, not so sadly. At least for Picture Claire. And, okay, I really, really don't like Juliette Lewis? But it's just unfair to compare her to Zoe Deschanel. She was AWFUL. /c\ But, anyway, I know what you mean. Wasted potential, wasted talent. *sigh*

We wish! So enticing I nearly voted for this one... Not surprised someone did!

unhurt, of course. And yeah, we wish. Next time, maybe? /delusional
bluebelle789
Jul. 7th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
I have actually sat through this more than once, and each time I...still didn't care about Claire? I just wanted more Laramie. Oh well. ;)


You might note that, unlike Bruce McDonalds, he has nothing to say about Callum Keith Rennie. Just saying.


I wonder why. *g*



c_regalis
Jul. 17th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
I have actually sat through this more than once, and each time I...still didn't care about Claire? I just wanted more Laramie. Oh well. ;)

Well, that's normal? i guess? I, at least, understand. So does everyone here who commented. Same for Bruce McDonald. And Hugh Dillon. :)

I wonder why. *g*

That's the question here, isn't it? I can't WAIT for Mal's post about Claire's Hat. *g*
_divya_
Jul. 8th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
AWESOME post. I still haven't been able to sit down and watch this movie from beginning to end but I do have fond memories of chatting with you in IM, going, "OMG Laramie, why so hot and wrong?"

c_regalis
Jul. 17th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
Hee! I REMEMBER the chatting sessions! I almost included the "Sit! Stay!" into the memorable quotes. *g*
roadrunner1896
Jul. 9th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
*hands you an apple*

Well done. Thanks for all the information that I didn't care to look up before, because I didn't really care for the movie.

So will you be the poor soul who has to do all the bad movies that no one volunteers for?
c_regalis
Jul. 17th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for all the information that I didn't care to look up before, because I didn't really care for the movie.

Well, as soon as you have to look up that stuff it gets kind of interesting. Sometimes. Ahem.

So will you be the poor soul who has to do all the bad movies that no one volunteers for?

Well, I have only one answer to that: September 6 - 12 - Code Name: The Cleaner (bluebelle789) \c/\c/\c/

BTW, when do you post? :D?
(no subject) - roadrunner1896 - Jul. 17th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bluebelle789 - Jul. 20th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roadrunner1896 - Jul. 20th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
marymary
Aug. 4th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for this post!

Yeah, Juliette Lewis. Not good. But I liked the movie enough. I actually noted where all the CKR scenes were and screened a CKR-only version for my sister tonight. She gives his performance a thumbs up and a head-shake-of-awesomeness.

So many things I loved about him in this. I think it all starts with the physical performance --- every role he does. It's very inside-out, so his body is doing at least half of the acting. In the first car scene, note the expression and the very slight head shake of exasperation as he sees his partner come out of the store alone. I love it when he's really minimal like that.

My favorite thing about this performance is the way he plays his rage at women. Talking to the antique shop guy, when he says, "Eddie likes to associate with a certain class of woman, the kind that changes out of her fucking tennis shoes for work." And he can't contain the laugh when he says "fucking tennis shoes". And the laugh is about hate --- he hates these women so much that he has to shake his head and laugh.

And at the end, in the apartment, he says to Lily, "And you don't want anyone else to get hurt..." He's saying it in a sing-song way, mocking her, but he can't even get through the line that way before the anger burst through (as he pulls the gun on Cynthia).

But by far my favorite line is at the end of that first scene in the apartment, near the end of the movie, after his speech has worked and Lily has put down the gun. "Women. Fuuuuuck." Ha!
c_regalis
Aug. 4th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
actually noted where all the CKR scenes were and screened a CKR-only version for my sister tonight.

Hee! SMART. *g* (Sorry, Bruce, but, well. You know.)

I think it all starts with the physical performance --- every role he does.

*nodsnodsnodsNODS* I know EXACTLY what you mean. And I love your observations. *nods more* I noticed the first thing, in the antique shop, not the second one though, not really. But yes, you are totally right about that one as well. It's a thing of beauty.

"Women. Fuuuuuck." Ha!

*keeps nodding* Indeed. Also I almost love his "Sit! Stay!" to Cynthia (when he sits her down at the chair) even more. :)
(no subject) - marymary - Aug. 4th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

Links

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow