ON THE TRAIL OF IGOR RIZZI(SUR LA TRACE D'IGOR RIZZI) (Noël Mitrani). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (February 2). Subtitled. For venues and times, see Movies, page 85. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Chosen as part of the Canada First! program at TIFF and one of Cinematheque's Canada's Top Ten of 2006, Noël Mitrani 's On The Trail Of Igor Rizzi is a bit like Canadian winter: bleak yet austerely beautiful.
Jean-Marc Thomas ( Laurent Lucas ), a soccer-player-turned-petty-thug, sits in his bare apartment in wintery Montreal mourning the loss of his beautiful ex-girlfriend. Desperate for more money, he's hired to kill Igor Rizzi, who's angered a local Mob boss. But as he plans the hit, a series of bizarre coincidences involving near-dead bodies and other criminals causes him to re-examine his life.
Details are revealed agonizingly slowly (we learn Thomas's name at minute 45 and his confederate's only in the closing soliloquy), the sole plot twist is blatantly telegraphed, the subtitles are hard to read, and Lucas looks nothing like a soccer player, even one who's gone to seed. But Christophe Debraize-Bois 's cinematography, using mainly available light, captures the chilly grey of winter in the big city and gives the film a gorgeous vérité quality.
And Lucas is compelling enough that you want Thomas to succeed, however unlikely an outcome that may be.