POOR BOY'S GAME (Clément Virgo). 104 minutes. Opens Friday (December 7). Rating: NNN
I wish I liked the rest of Clément Virgo's films half as much as his first feature, Rude. He seems to have fallen into an unfortunate realism that goes against the best impulses of his work in that film.
In Poor Boy's Game, from a script by Virgo and Chaz Thorne, a white boxer gets out of jail and steps into a racial firestorm when he returns to his Nova Scotia home. His crime? Inflicting permanent brain damage on a black fighter, and not in the ring.
Members of my critics tribe seem to see any vacant, brooding pretty boy as the second coming of Montgomery Clift, and such drooling has continued with this film, inspired further by the fact that star Rossif Sutherland has such impeccable Canadian acting genes, being Donald Sutherland's son.
Virgo has a certain fondness for this type of actor - Martin Cummins gives almost the same performance in Love Come Down. The far more interesting performance in Poor Boy's Game comes from veteran Danny Glover. Glover is powerful as the victim's father; you really wish the film were about him rather than the boxer. He most embodies the themes revolving around the rejection of atavistic impulses and the search for uneasy reconciliation.