Euthanasia is subjected to disease-of-the-week movie conventions in the wannabe tearjerker "The Last Escape."
Euthanasia is subjected to disease-of-the-week movie conventions in the wannabe tearjerker “The Last Escape,” from Swiss-born, Montreal-based helmer Lea Pool (“Emporte-moi”). Francophone Canuck ensemble, led by Jacques Godin in the tricky role of the drooling, Parkinson’s-affected patriarch, is strong, but there isn’t much else to recommend about this stolid adaptation of co-scripter Gil Courtemanche’s novel “A Good Death.” Life support in ancillary looms.
Though pic’s first half covers a Christmas dinner that introduces the extended, ennui-inducing Levesque clan, the unfocused narrative pivots around a single moment in the childhood of Andre (Jules St-Jean as a child, Denys Arcand regular Yves Jacques as an adult) that explains the hatred toward his now-ailing, septuagenarian dad, Anatole (Godin). But numerous flashbacks — in shaky, overexposed Super 8 — reduce a potentially complex father-son relationship to a simplistic tit-for-tat. Like Godin, Andree Lachapelle, as Anatole’s wife, is outstanding, though her character’s final actions reek more of screenplay convenience than character conviction. Violin- and piano-driven score doesn’t dare wander off the beaten path; other craft contributions also march in line.