Killer Thomas Haden Church tries to hide the evidence in tiresome Whitewash.
WHITEWASH (Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais). 90 minutes. Opens Friday (January 24). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
If films like Fargo and A Simple Plan have taught us anything, it's that burying a corpse - and your sins - in the snow is not as foolproof a plan as it seems. In the Quebec film Whitewash, which features a helluva lot of snow, co-writer/director Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais explores the metaphoric value of winter, a season, which, frankly we've all had enough of.
Thomas Haden Church plays Bruce, an alcoholic who in the film's opening minutes mows down a straggler with his mini-plow, ditches the body and high-tails it deep into the woods in a violent snowstorm. The mini-plow gets jammed, leaving Bruce stranded in the middle of nowhere. As time wears on, it seems he doesn't care to be anywhere else.
Through flashbacks we learn that Bruce and his victim, Paul (Marc Labrèche), have a bit of a history, clues to why Bruce makes some of his head-scratching, incriminating decisions. Hoss-Desmarais skilfully teases out these bits of information, trying to stretch out a thin and not entirely convincing story to seem more compelling than it really is.
The director has talent for creating atmosphere and visualizing the disintegration of his main character, but it might have been better served in a short film. At feature length, Whitewash feels as tiresome as the weather.