DVD Whitewash

DVD Whitewash
DVD Whitewash
Run time: 90 min
Rating: 5.9
Genres: Drama | Thriller
Director: Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
Writers: Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, Marc Tulin
Stars: Thomas Haden Church, Anie Pascale, Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais
In the harsh, wintry woods of rural Quebec, Bruce (Thomas Haden Church), a down-on-his-luck snowplow operator, accidentally kills a man during a drunken night joyride. Stricken with panic, he hides the body and takes to the deep wilderness in hopes of outrunning both the authorities and his own conscience. But as both begin to close in, Bruce falls apart mentally and morally and mysteries unravel to reveal who he was before the accident, the truth behind his victim, and the circumstances that brought them together in a single moment. Written by Oscilloscope Pictures
Country: Canada
Release Date: 2 May 2014 (USA)


  1. I had the pleasure of seeing Whitewash at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival or KVIFF for short. I went to see this film while knowing nothing about it because that is sometimes the way you see films at KVIFF. You buy a ticket and go see a film that you know nothing about. I strongly recommend going into a movie which you know nothing about because that way you can enjoy it much more.

    A snow plow operator accidentally runs over with his mini-plow a man walking on the street during a blizzard. That's all you need to know about this film's plot. What ensues after this accident is a the perfect blend of drama and black comedy. Surprisingly Thomas Haden Church's Bruce spends most of the movie hiding in his snow plow and trying to figure out what to do next.

    Thomas Hadden Church gives here the best performance of his life. Very minimalistic though but very gripping and funny. The film shows how physically demanding Bruce's survival is. (The story is set in Quebec, so the winter there is very harsh) Thomas Haden Church portrays a man who is unwilling to die even though he is doubting if living is worth the struggle. But all this can be told with a lot of humor, even if the situation wouldn't be funny in real life.

    After the screening there was a short Q&A session with the director Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais. He said that although the winter looks very harsh, during the time of the shoot the winter was very wimpy so they had to help themselves with a few special effects. After the Q&A session ended I went up to the director and asked him for an autograph and asked him if the Coen brothers was an influence on this film. The answer was: Of course! The guy seemed like a very sympathetic fellow and I look forward to seeing more of his work.

  2. Since his first entry into the realm of Oscar-lovers and voters, Thomas Haden Church seemed like a one-trick pony. His newest effort in Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais' film Whitewash has the actor delivering his finest work yet. Telling the story of Bruce, a man heavy on the bottle, who after he hits a man with his bulldozer during a snowstorm, ventures out into the cold Canadian woods to hide for survival.

    As the narrative travels in and out of present and past time, writers Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais and Marc Tulin manage to keep the subdued aura of the film while still keeping it interesting and inventive. Many choices in storytelling and shooting will remind many of the underrated film from Joe Carnahan, The Grey (2012), but the characters here felt much more accessible, both in flaws and pros. The dreary and intimate portrait captured by Cinematographer André Turpin is what encourages the film to go to another place cinematically. His choices along with Hoss- Desmarais' direction keep the story and the audience close and working together to get to our resolution.

    Thomas Haden Church really manages to outdo himself as an actor and for the first time, becomes something bigger than he probably though of himself to be. In a tale of survival, in both the physical and criminal sense, Church lays out of an agenda that is both demanding of himself and philosophically sound. He walks the line of composure and is absolutely hypnotic. His performance is both poetic and visceral and becomes the first authentically genuine and raw male performance of the film year. He has never been better. What Whitewash also manages is an introduction to actor Marc Labrèche, who is simply fantastic in his role of Paul, a mysterious figure that will bring you on an emotional roller coaster to his defying finale.

    The film is surely a risky endeavor and while the film utilizes the audience's imagination and requirement to let certain laws of physics go, the bridge from the film to the resounding mind of film-lovers is clearly passionate and aptly brutal. It's vividly melancholic in execution and could be one of the best films of the year. Small yet larger than itself, Whitewash is a tranquil message of survival and redemption.

  3. Whitewash is the first full-length film from Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais. Because he is not that experienced with writing and directing, I feel I should be gentle with this review, as I do not want to discourage Emanuel—he shows some definite promise with this film. Whitewash has many qualities that show he's on the right track with his career and he should definitely keep working at improving his craft. The problem, however, is that the movie has very, very, very limited appeal and I cannot see it being a commercial success.

    The film stars the familiar actor, Thomas Hayden Church and it was quite the coup getting him for this project. You'll probably know him from such TV shows as Ned and Stacy and Wings but he also has been in quite a few films—including the critically acclaimed Sideways.

    The story is set in Canada and most everyone, other than Church's character, speaks French. It begins with him driving his snow plow down the road during a bad storm and running over a guy who is standing in the road! Inexplicably, instead of contacting the police, since it appears to be just an accident, he buries the body in the wilderness. Soon after this, he wrecks his plow and is stuck—and it might just be because he's drunk…though you really aren't sure. Why he doesn't just go for help is difficult to fathom initially and slowly during the course of the film you realize that there's more to the story.

    This film is told through a very familiar method in recent years—telling the story out of sequence. It seems like the story was chopped up and pieces of the beginning middle and end are all mixed together. I have liked this style in some films, though I must say that perhaps this style is a bit overused and it makes the film a bit confusing. This is not the only reason that I think that the film is for a very select audience. I say this also because Church is pretty much THE star of the film and he is in all the scenes in the film. Much of the time, he's all alone and talks to himself while hiding out in the woods—and this sort of film is certainly not one to appeal to anyone wanting action or traditional story telling. Additionally, he's not a particularly sympathetic character in the film—further lessening the film's appeal. Now none of this is to say it's a bad film—it isn't. It is unique and may appeal to some people who feel like they've seen it all and want something different. As for me, I respect the project—but I also didn't particularly enjoy it nor could I see myself recommending it to friends. Instead, I say let's see what else Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais can do in the future, as his directing style seems solid—I just think the story was one that doesn't have widespread appeal.

    A very curious film, that's for sure and I can easily say that I've never seen anything like it. Considering that I've written over 16,000 reviews (mostly on IMDb), this is saying a lot.

  4. Whitewash, directed by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais and co-written by Emanuel Hoss- Desmarais & Marc Tulin, is a dark comedy infused with the rigorous purity and deep character analysis that sustains the enduring artistry of cinema's masterworks.

    As in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, this tale is about a man and the regrettable killing he is responsible for while drunk. The two main characters (played by Thomas Haden Church and Marc Labrèche) plough forward as killer and victim become entangled in an increasingly hopeless predicament plagued with widespread wretchedness and despondency.

    The film is shot in the isolated forests of Quebec during the harsh of winter. The ideologically charged backdrop offers a feral setting in which the main characters, one French speaking and the other English speaking, seem to simply exist on screen. Their exchanges are simple and pure, dignified with an honest humor that inspires great sympathy for each of them and for the human condition at large.

    The movie ends with a climatic joke looking forward into an unwritten fourth act.

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