Written and directed by Jacob Tierney
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Colm Feore, Saul Rubinek, Genevieve Bujold, and Emily Hampshire
There’s nothing like a good movie about Marxism and fascism.Â Montreal born director Jacob Tierney has made quite an amusing film here.Â Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder) stars as teenager Leon Bronstein and he truly believes that he is the reincarnation of Bolshevik and Marxist theorist Leon Trotsky.Â Why do you ask?Â Well, for one Leon Bronstein was the given name to Leon Trotsky and this kid has a big thing for workers rights and unions.Â He thinks his life should parallel Trotsky’s life so much that he plans on being exiled, at least twice, and ultimately assassinated.Â At the moment though, he’s quite focused on finding his Lenin and an older woman to marry, preferably named Alexandra.
We get a good glimpse of what this kid is all about when, as a 17 year old, he tries to unionize the workers at his father’s plant within the first 24 hours of his employment there.Â His punishment?Â Having his funds cut off from his fancy private school and being forced to slum it in a public high school for his final year.Â Here, he has his revolution ideas fully put to the test as he meets theÂ evil and controllingÂ Principal Berkhoff (Colm Feore in an excellent performance)Â and his brutally strict second in command, Mrs. Davis (Domini Blythe)
One of the main themes in the movie is boredom vs. apathy.Â Do the students at this public high school actually care that they are being treated poorly by their teachers?Â Does school suck?Â If so, should it?Â Â Leon attempts aÂ school wide walkout in protest of their poor treatment and demands that their voices be heard and although the numbers of the walkout are succesful, the attitudes once outside are questionable.Â
The movie does have an expected love story and at times it’s a little cheesy, but it’s not as bad and sappy as it could have been because it never lets the main story arc drift too far away before bringing us back into it.Â I thought it was cleverly written and well performed and it was quite focused.Â There are some hilarious moments with Leon showing that he is in fact a teenager when his mother is around as well as his courtship ofÂ his beloved Alexandra whether she likes it or not.
The best part of the film I would say is that it’s distinctly Canadian as it’s packed with very specific and tongue-in-cheek funny references to certain cultural phenomenons such as the divide between English and French speaking Montreal and the unexplainable success of Ben Mulroney.
I can’t imagine that this will have much of a wide release outside of major metropolitan Canadian cities, but if you get a chance to check it out, hopefully you’ll find it as funny as I did. – Greg