(director/writer: Raymond St-Jean; screenwriter: Martin Girard; cinematographer: Jean-Francois Lord; editor: Philippe Ralet; music: Gaetan Gravel; cast: Eric Bruneau (Donald Lavoie), Benoit Gouin (Claude Dubois), Pose-Marie Perreault (Francine Lavoie), Simon Landry-Desy (Carl Lavoie), Alexandra Petrachuk (Nancy Collins), Sylvain Marcel (Roger Burns); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Paul Cadieux, Michel Ouellette; Saban; 2023)-Canada-in French with English subtitles)

“Differs from the usual hitman film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The snappy French-Canadian thriller, a period piece, adapted from a true story, differs from the usual hitman film. It’s set in 1979 and in the 1980s, in Quebec. It’s about the Canadian hitman Donald Lavoie (Eric Bruneau), happily married to his Francine (Rose-Marie Perreault), and his dilemma with his mob boss Claude Dubois (Benoit Gouin), who rules the underworld territory in Southwest Montreal with his brothers. The boss orders Donald to kill his own beloved brother Carl (Simon Landry-Desy) for being a fuck-up and endangering the gang by calling attention to it to the law.

The tense film leaves you guessing what Donald (a cold-blooded killer, who deserves no sympathy) will do, as he’s wrestling with his bad options. If he kills his brother, it’s hard to see how he can live with himself. By choosing to disobey his boss, he puts his own life at risk. His only way out might be to drop a dime on his boss and get immunity from the police task force leader (Sylvain Marcel).

It’s smoothly directed by Raymond St-Jean (“A Chair Fit For An Angel”/”Out of Mind: The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft”), the former musical video director and multimedia designer. And it’s well-written as a psychological thriller by St. Jean and Martin Girard.

The strength of the film is in the riveting performance by Eric Bruneau, who truly encapsulates his troubled character and the pressure he’s undergoing as he weighs his options. The story is told from his POV, as it questions being a cold-blooded killer and loyal to the wrong people.