“Cap Tourmente” is a tepid psychosexual drama that’s unlikely to earn either critical interest or arthouse coin once it completes a go-round on the fest circuit.
Script by Montreal-based screenwriter Michel Langlois (“La Femme de l’hotel, “”Straight to the Heart”) is an original, but it plays like a slightly opened-up adaptation of a one-set stage play, as Langlois, making his feature directing debut, emphasizes almost nonstop talk and only perfunctory action.
Drama is triggered by the return of Alex (Roy Dupuis), a hunky ne’er-do-well who washed out while trying to follow in his late father’s footsteps as a merchant seaman. Alex retreats to the riverside bed-and-breakfast operated by his indulgent mother, Jeanne (Andree Lachapelle), and sister Alfa (Elise Guilbault). By coincidence, Jean-Louis (Gilbert Sicotte), an old friend of the family, shows up for a visit just as Alex arrives.
It turns out that Jean-Louis used to have something going with Alfa, and something else going with Alex. Alfa isn’t averse to sharing Jean-Louis’ bed again, but it seems that she’s really pining for her brother. And just to make the air of incest a little heavier, Jeanne indicates that she, too, thinks her son is a hot number.
Trouble is, Alex is too wrapped up in self-regarding ennui, and too strung out on drugs, to remain interested very long in anyone.
After a while, however, Alex’s childish behavior places an impossible demand on the audience’s sympathies, even as he remains the darling of those around him.
The performances are wildly uneven, ranging from Guilbault’s unfortunately comical overplaying to Dupuis’ jeans-ad posturing.
Lachapelle works hard at creating a flesh-and-blood character, Sicotte works even harder, and both succeed more often than not.
Eric Cayla’s moody lensing and Normand Sarrazin’s apt art direction go a long way toward giving the pic some visual variety.