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Le Dernier Tunnel - Pushing the Envelop for Genre in Quebec and abroad
7 April 2005
Érik Canuel's "Le Dernier Tunnel" (2004), inspired from the true story of Marcel Talon's surreal bank robbery, tells the story of an audacious bank robbery made possible by digging a tunnel from the sewers beneath busy downtown Montreal streets into an underground bank volt, where millions of dollars are 'safely' kept. This film offers a genre approach unprecedented in Québec's cinematographic history, which Canuel seems to be making a ritual of, adding to his already impressive filmography, along with "La Loi Du Cochon" (2001) amongst others, a genre film of international caliber. "Le Dernier Tunnel", a typical heist film, reminiscent of such 1950s heist films as Jules Dassin's "Rififi", or of such recent renditions as Frank Oz's "The Score" (2001) (also shot in Montreal), proves that Québec's growing genre film industry can now be placed into an international context, without appearing recycled or banal, while maintaining a cultural uniqueness proper to Quebec. On an aesthetic level, taking into account the film's overall stylistic approach to the heist genre, "Le Dernier Tunnel" is cutting-edge; The editing is sharp and multi-layered, and the cinematography is meticulously executed -as it should be- to convey moods relative to any given scene, which is customary to Canuel's cinematic style, who is admittedly intent on using more than just a superficial cinematography. Overall, this picture, with a meager budge of only 4.5 million dollars -which for Quebec standard is considerably high, but represents nothing in comparison to any aesthetically equivalent Hollywood genre film- offers an approach to the heist film rarely scene before.

Note: My grade of 7/10 is given within the context of the genre it conforms to -more precisely to Quebec's genre capabilities- and isn't meant to reflect anything pertaining to its place in the greater context of cinema's 110 year history, which would then be absurd. If it were, its grade would obviously be considerably lower.
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