Growing up in Montreal in an English speaking home in the heart of Little Italy meant I lived in some sort of demilitarized zone separating the ever present English and French two solitudes that is and will always be Québec within Canada. Straddling the two divisions there was relative peace and calm but at the drop of pin tensions could flare up for any slight, perceived or otherwise, if the two sides were separated along linguistic lines. At that point adversarial stances became set and insult volleys would begin with missives like ”Maudit Anglais” which would elicit retorts of “Pissou” or “Frog”.
And that was just the kids playing ball hockey in the streets.
The ‘adults‘ on the other hand have had a longstanding rift since the pivotal battle on the Plains of Abraham leaving the English and French in Canada to have a seemingly incessant fluctuating relationship whose ebb and flow are almost as predictable as the ocean tides with an occasional hurricane landfall.
So what has this to do with the movie Bon Cop, Bad Cop? Well everything and nothing. Coming from French Canadian director Eric Canuel this is a comedy that explores the stereotypes and different attitudes towards, sex, driving, law obedience, dining etiquette and the most divisive of issues: hockey allegiances.
As the title suggests, this is a cop movie and it begins right at the border between Ontario and Québec. When a dead body is discovered teetering above the road sign marking the divide between two provinces, the police from both jurisdictions arrive at the crime scene. Neither wanting yet another case to solve, Detective David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) attempts to thrust responsibility to his Ontario counterpart while Martin Ward (Colm Feore) tries to argue otherwise. The bickering ends when both of their superiors decide that it will be a cooperative investigation partnering the long-faced cops to solve the murder.
With the aid of a nutty post mortem examiner the jousting duo try to set aside their differences and follow the clues for what ends up being a serial killer on mission. Ricocheting between Québec Joual and broken English the two explore tittie bars, drug grow-ops, and worse places (Toronto. Well for a militant Québecois…) brokering just enough of a truce to lead them to their masked “Tattoo Killer”.
While a great film I wonder how non-Canadians will take it in given many of the jokes and puns are decidedly Canadian and Québec rooted. Will they really understand the significance of a hilariously timed exclamation “Vive le Québec libre”? I doubt it. On the other hand I believe it is every Canadian’s patriotic duty to watch this flick. Parle-moi de t’ça, hostie!
DVD owners will rejoice with the opportunity to watch the movie (A) in English, with French subtitles, (B) in French with English subtitles, or (C for true Canadians) as filmed in alternating English/French with no subtitles!