Omerta @ Les Rendez-Vous du Cinema Quebecois

omertaIt isn’t very often that you get a film based on a television series.  In most cases it is the other way around.  Director/writer Luc Dionne (Aurore, Machine Gun Molly) already had developed Omerta, a series based around an investigator named Pierre Gauthier who works in the organized crime sector, and it was a success.

Pierre Gauthier (Michel Côté – Cruising Bar, C.R.A.Z.Y.), a former police officer who is now the head of Pulsar International, is contacted by his former boss, Gilbert Tanguay (Michel Dumont – Café de Flore) to investigate a conspiracy involving a member of the Italian mafia.  Pierre agrees and he hires Sophie (Rachelle Lefevre – Twilight, Barney’s Version), a former police officer and member of the Canadian Secret Service, to infiltrate a restaurant owned by Steve Bélanger (Patrick Huard – Bon Cop, Bad Cop, Starbuck).  Steven is a reputed money cleaner who is associated with known mafia boss, Dominique Fagazi (René Angélil ).  They, in association with the recently released Sam Cohen (Stéphane Rousseau – Les Invasion Barbares, Asterix at the Olympic Games), are thought to be plotting a $600 million dollar gold heist.  Pierre and Sophie are hired to find out what is going on.  It is a difficult and dangerous case as nothing and no one is as they seem.

Like in sports a good start is important with films.  Dionne’s film is like a teenager on a school day in that it takes a lot of time to get going.  Once the film does gather its legs under itself it is already the second hour and maybe some have already tuned out due to boredom.  For those who stick it out you are rewarded with more action and tension.

Michel Côté and Patrick Huard are two of this province’s better known francophone actors and they turn in performances you would expect of them – strong.  They are given a couple of scenes where they go head-to-head and these are some of the best in the whole film.  Actually most of the actors do well.  Even Céline Dion’s husband, René Angélil, is convincing as the mafia boss.  He does the rather silent but intimidating mob boss very well.  The only actor who was weak is the only woman amidst all these men – Rachelle Lefevre.  In a couple of scenes she is so over the top that it was embarrassing.  And the whole switching between English and French?  Yes, people here do that, but not like she does in the film.

Featuring some of the most recognizable Quebec actors, Omerta was one of the more high profile films that came out of Quebec in 2012.  As you would expect a bunch of money was used to film Omerta and the result is an uneven one.  Some moments are well-done, acted and filled with tension as you would expect from a film of this genre.  Other moments are either flat, predictable or over the top.  In this end, I was rather frustrated with this film as I saw the potential was there, but was fumbled with at times.

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