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Gian Maria Volontè
The subject matter of the film and many of its scenes are dark-filled spaces. The film is based on a true story and includes actual transcripts of a trial in the case of a man mistaken as a rapist. From the statements made by the film makers towards the end of the film and indeed from some of the TV footage included in the film, the case of Michel Dumont must have been something of a cause célèbre in Canada. The film is highly critical of the judiciary and lawyers involved and rightly so.
Michel Dumont is a quiet man caught up in a maelstrom that leads to him being found guilty of rape and incarcerated. The film charts the effect this has upon him and those in close proximity to Msr. Dumont. The consequences are pretty horrific as Dumont and his children suffer abuses of various kinds, mostly the direct result of his fate. The source of hope in the film is Dumont's second wife Solange Tremblay whose devotion to resurrecting his case for judicial reconsideration is awe-inspiring and a testament to a type of love that is so scarce in the lives of most of the characters.
It is clear that the film makers sought actors who bore a strong resemblance to their real life counterparts. Marc-Andre Grondin, who plays Dumont, is exceptional and playing against the type of character for which he is famous. The woman who plays the rape victim was well chosen too and although Dumont's guilt was based upon her evidence she is portrayed sympathetically as befits her story that emerges in the film.
This is a tough watch because misery after misery is heaped on Dumont and each time he seems to be rounding a corner another stretch emerges. Whether that be a judicial obstacle or learning of more abuse suffered by his children. Even at its conclusion the film offers little sense of triumph as those members of the judiciary seen as culpable in the miscarriage of justice against Dumont appear to have been promoted and moved on to better and brighter things. The film is a salutary lesson about incompetent lawyers, prejudiced judges and assuming guilt based upon little evidence in emotive crimes such as rape.
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