When student filmmaker Yannick (Marc-André Grondin) moves to a new town, he mangles his bike in an accident, close to 5150 Elm’s Way. Here, he is captured by the Beaulieu family, its patriarch, Jacques (Patrick D’Amour), on a Catholic-inspired mission to clear society of sinners. Jacques is also a keen chess player, viewing the world through two factions: the white players the righteous, the black the unrighteous. Yannick must win a game if he is to be set free, but Jacques has never lost…
Éric Tessier’s third feature is a confused affair, a bizarre mishmash of styles clashing to produce what is, well, a mess. The Beaulieus are painted by number, and the barest of subplot is revealed in just one line of dialogue, for the pure purpose of Yannick’s psychology striving to win a game for more than just his freedom. As such, a macabre climax fails to shock, the film already having bored the viewer.
First published in movieScope 22
5150 Elm’s Way is available on DVD from 30 May