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Thomas Haden Church in a scene from Whitewash. (Cristal Films/Micro_Scope)
Thomas Haden Church in a scene from Whitewash. (Cristal Films/Micro_Scope)

Whitewash: Quebec-set drama is a small but sparking gem on ice Add to ...

  • Directed by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
  • Written by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, Marc Tulin
  • Starring Thomas Haden Church
  • Classification 14A
  • Year 2013
  • Country Canada
  • Language English, French

When the snowplow driven by the craggy-faced, widowed alcoholic Bruce (Thomas Haden Church) hits and kills a man on an icy, snow-pelleted rural road, it appears to be an accident, but Bruce’s subsequent actions suggest otherwise. He buries the body in a snowbank, then proceeds to drive his vehicle deep into the woods, where he awakes the next morning, dazed and confused.

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Why hasn’t he gone to the cops? Who was the man on the road? And why, for God’s sake, does Bruce begin to live in the wrecked and frozen dozer?

The debut feature by Quebec filmmaker Emanuel Hoss-Demarais is a frosty, desperation-steeped winter noir à la Fargo or A Simple Plan, but it has distinctive character in all senses of the word: It addresses our questions about this charismatically perplexing loner – a sensational Church – via the smartly elliptical use of flashbacks and voiceover, and it focuses so exclusively on this broken, self-exiled man in the wilderness that Bruce’s internal drama becomes the movie’s primary source of mystery and allure.

Whitewash is a small but sparkling gem on ice.

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