Two years after her helming debut with “Marie’s Son” — which also preemed in Cannes’ Critics Week — vet thesp Carole Laure makes a leap in technical proficiency with “CQ2.” Scattered tale of wounded souls in French-speaking Canada does an excellent job of harnessing the kinetic power of vigorous modern dance, but tries too hard to fabricate organic connections between characters that, although sincere, register as contrived. Already set for release in France and Canada, pic may find other takers willing to overlook the fact that Laure’s weaknesses as a scripter tend to cancel out the earnest and original components of her offbeat narratives.
Laure’s own daughter Clara Furey makes a sometimes overwrought but memorable debut as Rachel, an angry 17-year-old who leaves home in search of something more nurturing than the parental misguidance and casual drug dealing she’s known to date. Having spent a lot of time hanging out near Montreal’s Women’s Prison, Rachel follows sinewy and striking Jeanne (Danielle Hubbard) the day she’s released after serving two years.
Jeanne takes a bus as far as the Pine, a rural motel with few customers run by Steven (Jean-Marc Barr), a woodsy type of few words who is overjoyed to see Jeanne. Lurking on the periphery is a loony guy in a wheelchair who professes his undying love for Jeanne.
When Jeanne — who happens to be a modern dance instructor when she’s not in prison — meets Rachel, the angry young woman starts to channel her fury into the rigors of physical expression.
All this sounds straightforward enough, but pic interjects elements such as a seriously overweight inmate with a kind disposition, a gang rape and others that feel tacked on. Muscled beauty Hubbard has screen presence to burn.