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Whitewash Movie Review

Written by Richelle Charkot

Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories


Whitewash Poster 


Directed by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
Written by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais and Marc Tulin
2014, 90 minutes, Not Rated
Released on iTunes April 29th, 2014 | VOD released on May 2nd, 2014

Thomas Haden Church as Bruce
Marc Labrèche as Paul

Whitewash 01 Whitewash 03 


Whitewash stars Thomas Haden Church as Bruce; a drunk widower who kills a man while driving his bulldozer during a snowstorm in rural Quebec. Immediately he wraps the body in a tarp and throws it into his vehicle to drive it into the thick woods and discard it before his conscience and sobriety can catch up to him. He then finds himself stuck in the snow, deep in the forest for several days, where his guilt begins to grow and his sanity begins to dwindle. Thomas Haden Church delivers some exceptionally well-acted scenes while stuck in the forest; some where he pretends to talk to inquiring police officers and others where he tries his best to deal with what has happened.

This darkly quirky film proceeds in a non-linear timeline, which adds to the haphazard feel coming from this cast of strange and lonesome characters. The plot unravels to reveal that Bruce not only knew the man that he struck down, but he had an incredibly peculiar friendship with him. The victim, Paul (played by Marc Labrèche), was a degenerate who was teetering on the edge of sanity after his enormous gambling debt put him in a situation where he considered suicide as a way out. The two characters first meet while Paul is attempting to poison himself by inhaling exhaust fumes from his running car, but he chooses to do so while blaring music in a parking lot. Bruce walks by and asks him if he's all right, and then in response to Paul's choice of suicide-soundtrack asks, "You a Cochrane fan?"

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Whitewash's dialogue is especially well written. It reminded me of something in the vein of Quentin Tarantino's output; seemingly nonsensical (to the plot) that is nonetheless entertaining. In the dialogue-heavy scenes between Bruce and Paul during their numerous bizarre interactions, there were several moments where I laughed out loud at the lines that were delivered. One scene in particular that struck me as oddly funny is after Bruce saves Paul from his attempted suicide and they then decide to have dinner and some beers at Bruce's place. Paul is stirring food on the stove and analyzing a box of glass doll eyes that Bruce discloses his dead wife used to make for a living. He then implores his new friend as nonchalantly as if they've known each other for decades to sell the eyes because they are so well crafted that he is sure that they could bring in a lot of money.

This film is laden with equally peculiar dialogue between Bruce and Paul that is seriously funny for anyone who enjoys dark humour, although Whitewash can just barely be qualified as a "dark comedy". In any moment where I laughed at what was happening, I almost felt guilty considering the dramatic tone and subject of the film. The humour is so well woven into the plot and subtly attached to the characters, that after watching it, I felt compelled to Google if anyone else found this film funny. In spite of all of the death, debt, coldness and loneliness, Whitewash made me smile and chuckle a handful of times, as well as feel almost as disoriented and uncomfortable as Bruce must have been while stuck in the forest and wrapped in his own remorse.

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