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Bon Cop, Bad Cop (#99)

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This is one of the few movies this has crossed linguistic lines across Canada, with both Anglophone and Francophone target audiences.   “Good Cop, Bad Cop” (2006), is a French / English bilingual movie – in which one co-actor speaks French, and the other co-actor speaks English.  It also happened to be one of the highest grossing box-office movies in the history of Montréwood and Canadian cinema.

The plot itself is intriguing – a murder which occurred right on the Ontario-Québec border, therefore involving both provincial police forces (the Ontario Provincial Police [OPP] and the Sureté du Québec).  In order to keep the Federal RCMP out of the case, both the OPP and Sureté du Québec lead investigators were forced to work together to solve the crime.  By doing so, they’d be able to secure a larger budget for their respective police forces.

But it’s not difficult to dig up many nuances from the days of the old Two Solitudes, the movie’s humour was based on stereotypes – and both co-actors brought such issues to the forefront.  The movie basically made Canadians (both Anglophones and Francophones alike) laugh at themselves, and the ridiculousness of how some people can get so hung up over nothing.

The main characters were played by Patrick Huard and Colm Feore.  Huard is a well-known Francophone actor who grew up in Montréal, and Feore grew up in Southern Ontario and has held many acting roles in Canada and Hollywood (some of them in major productions, such as Pearl Harbour and The Sum of All Fears).  They spoke their respective languages in the film, but the movie was subtitled into both French and English for unilingual Canadians.

The French Wikipedia article is much better than the English one.   The article is here (it offers more information on the plot, the French vs English jokes in the movies, and other backgrounders) :  http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Cop,_Bad_Cop.

This movie did very well considering Canada struggles to get Anglophones to come to the box-office for home-grown films (competition from Hollywood is just too strong).  In the end, it shows that there is an appetite for this type of movie, across both linguistic lines.  It baffles me that we’re not seeing more bilingual movies – or movies that venture more into this type of realm – especially when there’s obviously money to be had.

The interest alone that this movie generated showed that the concept of The Two Solitudes is slowly coming down.  There’s absolutely no way this movie would have been nearly as successful if it came out in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.  It goes to show that the public’s political views are changing, that people are finally able to laugh at themselves and not take themselves too seriously, and that hang-ups around the old Two Solitudes are viewed as rediculous subjects of humour rather than the older flash points of tension (on both sides of the linguistic lines).  People want to see the type of interactions we saw here, and they proved it by opening their wallets.

Hopefully more writers, producers and directors make more movies like this.  Eric Canuel (Director) and Kevin (Tierney) tested the terrain of how far the lines of political correctness could be pushed – and they showed to a good number of people that time have changed, that they continue to change, and it can be done.  Not only that, they showed when it’s done well, it makes money.  In the end, good on them!

Some big-name directors and producers who still in live the “old school” of decades past likely wouldn’t want to go there (perhaps it wouldn’t fit their “personalities” – I’ll just leave it there).  But there’s no point in trying to turn a horse into a cow.  The rest of the world continues to march forward, regardless.   It would be great to see a younger generation take up the torch – one which is a bit more in touch with the the realities of today’s under-30s & under-40s.  Who knows – perhaps we’ll see Xavier Dolan take a crack at a cross-cultural movie like this – you never know, he just might.

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