Elephant Song

Canada Film Days 2015. Starring Xavier Dolan, Bruce Greenwood, Catherine Keener

“What goes on inside the mind of a madman? It’s a question that has spawned many a movie character. Quebec director Charles Binamé hinges his engaging new film Elephant Song on the premise.

“Xavier Dolan is best known as a filmmaker, and he is a victim of his own success. Though he claims to prefer acting, the Cannes veteran has gained international recognition for his work behind the camera. It’s a pleasant surprise to find him alongside some big names for his first English language acting gig.

“The year is 1966. Dolan plays Michael, a patient at a mental institution who may have information as to the whereabouts of a missing doctor. Michael’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lawrence (Colm Feore) disappeared the day before, following an appointment with the man.

“Dr. Green (Bruce Greenwood) is an administrator who doesn’t usually consult with patients; but he makes an exception on this day, given the urgency of the circumstances. Dr. Green summons Michael into Dr. Lawrence’s office and attempts to get to the bottom of things.

“Keeping tabs on the situation, with a look of justifiable concern, is Nurse Peterson (Catherine Keener). She warns Dr. Green that Michael is not to be taken lightly. Dr. Green only half-listens, and before long he is in the palm of Michael’s hand. His first mistake is not reading the patient’s file – a condition Michael imposes so that he may be taken at face value, not judged on his past.

“Relishing the attention, Michael offers all kinds of potential scenarios regarding what may have happened to his doctor, with varying degrees of plausibility. In there, somewhere, lies the truth, Dr. Green believes, if he could only get the boy to let down his guard.

“Michael is the one in control, of course. And Dolan plunges into the part of unhinged mastermind with relish. Where he’s taking us is anyone’s guess.” - Montreal Gazette


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