The Canadian film, Whitewash, presents a psychological, woodsy dilemma. Have you ever tried to hide-out on the spur of the moment? It is not easy.
In this 2013 Canadian film, Whitewash, our small hero, an everyday man, Bruce Landry, is left to his own devices in the woods. Or make that his own device, in this case a tracked snowplow. Thomas Haden Church plays Landry perfectly with an air of grim and resigned humor. His dilemma is very real. Have you ever tried to hide-out on the spur of the moment?
With no chance to plan, Landry is left adrift in the woods of Quebec, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Hiding from family, neighbors, the police, or someone, or something else, is not easy. Do you take a chance and sneak back home for a while? How do you resupply? What if you can’t go home and can’t go to the store? What if you can’t or don’t want to get away?
Going on the run, and staying on the run, is pretty hardcore. (Warning: Don’t try this at home.) Most people today are way too soft to pull it off. Best left to the professionals, this is the province of fleeing felons and fugitives.
Marc Labrèche is also outstanding in this film as Landry’s new acquaintance. Whitewash was nominated for and won a number of awards including those to director, Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais.
Whitewash uses the natural scenery of Canada to great effect. I have not been let down by too many Canadian films, especially where the unbilled star of stunning beauty shots is the wild itself. Couple this with a smart story and it makes for a great movie. Another one that comes to mind that fits this bill is The River King (2005), with its unrelenting weather and amazing contrast at the end. And it is not necessarily wilderness, but just the scenery in general that forms a nice backdrop for many of these Canadian films. They benefit from the smaller population, the smaller towns, the hardy lifestyle, and the craggy coastlines and forests of places like Nova Scotia.
A few independent films that have fit this bill in one way or another have been Marion Bridge (2002), Love on the Side (2004), and Deeply (2000). As I said before, I have rarely been let down by Canadian films, especially independent films, and these above are good examples.
I think Thomas Haden Church is hilarious in general. He stole the show in All About Steve (2009). His character, Jack, in Sideways (2004), crashing from party-hardy to real sadness, said something to the effect of, “You don’t understand my plight.” In the Canadian film, Whitewash, in specific, his plight is much more serious. He is stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Whitewash, updates this proverb slightly and moves it to the forest outside of town, stuck, for sure, in a snowplow, between a tree and a frozen spot. And to add just one more saying, all dressed up and nowhere to go.