Did any one who attended the press screening of Liverpool Sunday afternoon catch what looked like a ginormous blooper?
It was past the halfway mark through this Quebec thriller as our hero sets out to follow a suspicious character from the Liverpool bar that gives the movie its title. While our heroine waits in his car, our hero duct-tapes his iPhone inside the wheel well of their quarry’s vehicle. Hero than hops inside his own car and drives off with our heroine at his side following the iPhone, and the suspicious character, using a tracking software on an iPad. (This movie is big on product placement; hero’s car is a cute little blue Fiat 500.)
They wind up in a trash dump in the east end of Montreal. Hero sneaks in after suspicious character and sees him and other characters who shouldn’t be there meeting with mobsters. He runs back to his car, telling our heroine he will film them for evidence and says “Give me my phone.” Or words to that effect. She dutifully hands over the iPhone which but one scene previously was taped to someone else’s car.
How did she get the phone? (It’s not her phone; she is a cat-loving good Samaritan whose techno-scepticism and preference for face-to-face contact is central to her character.) Maybe we missed something, but the evidence is that director Manon Briand does not care much about such niceties: Liverpool ends with a cancer-stricken character who supposedly had but days to live standing on his own two feet and giving his long-lost daughter a mighty hug.
For all that it plays fast and loose with narrative probabilities, Liverpool is a wonderful example of Quebec’s ability to make its own popular culture. This low-budget thriller about a scam to send illegal e-waste to China is cheerfully topical with a plot driven by an unholy alliance between lax government agencies and organized crime, and a climax that relies on young people who take to the streets of Montreal. Who cares about continuity when you can conjure flash mobs?