Review: ‘Picture Claire’

A miscast Juliette Lewis, as a Quebecoise adrift on the mean, criminal streets of, uh, Toronto, toplines "Picture Claire," an inept attempt at a noirish caper drama by Canadian rock 'n' roll road movie maverick Bruce McDonald. Theatrical possibilities outside Canada look minimal; in Quebec, pic looks likely to be laughed off the screen.

A severely miscast Juliette Lewis, as a Quebecoise adrift on the mean, criminal streets of, uh, Toronto, toplines “Picture Claire,” an embarrassingly inept attempt at a noirish caper drama by Canadian rock ‘n’ roll road movie maverick Bruce McDonald. Theatrical possibilities outside English-speaking Canada look minimal; in Quebec, pic looks likely to be laughed off the screen.

After narrowly escaping being torched in her east Montreal apartment, tough-naive biker chick Claire (Lewis) heads down to Toronto to find her one-time lover, Billy (Kelly Harms), and accidentally becomes involved in a diamonds-deal-gone-bad involving sleazy Eddie (Mickey Rourke, in an extravagant cameo) and lippy Lily (Gina Gershon), his murderous associate. Contrived, utterly unbelievable plot is further capsized by rendering Claire almost mute — she speaks ‘ardly a word of Engleesh — and having everybody else pretend they’re in a really hip U.S. movie. Decked out with pointless use of multiscreen, pic essentially ends at the 70-minute point but pads out the running time for a further 20. Tech credits are fine.

Picture Claire

Canada

Production

An Alliance Atlantis release of an Alliance Atlantis/Serendipity Point Films production. (International sales: Alliance Atlantis Pictures Intl., Santa Monica, Calif.) Produced by Robert Lantos, Wendy Green. Co-producer, Julia Rosenberg. Directed by Bruce McDonald. Screenplay, Semi Chellas.

Crew

Camera (Deluxe color), Miroslaw Baszak; editor, Michael Pacek; music, Paul Haslinger; production designer, Rob Gray; art director, Ian Reynolds; costume designer, Lea Carlson. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentations), Sept. 13, 2001. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Juliette Lewis, Gina Gershon, Callum Keith Rennie, Kelly Harms, Camilla Rutherford, Mickey Rourke.
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