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Polytechnique

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Canada

2009

1h 17m

Director Denis Villeneuve

Starring Maxim Gaudette, Sébastien Huberdeau, Karine Vanasse, Evelyne Brochu

Genre Crime, Drama

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Based on the true events of the Montreal Massacre, where a lone gunman shot and killed 14 women at an engineering school in Montreal. The story is told from the perspectives of three people: a student named Valerie, her friend Jean-Francois, and the shooter himself.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

The New York Times by A.O. Scott

It is neither floridly melodramatic nor showily minimalist. The virtue - and also the limitation - of this movie is that it confronts senselessness and insists on remaining calm and sane.
80

Time Out by David Fear

Though the characters are fictional, Polytechnique hews close to the facts regarding the 1989 incident, down to its misogynistic Marc Lépine avatar (Gaudette) separating "feminist" coeds in a classroom.
88

Slant Magazine by Ed Gonzalez

Though it's as schematic in construction as Incendies, the film doesn't grind along to a ponderous plot; it's unnerving abstraction of its subject matter more daringly relays Villeneuve's view of the human cost of gender warfare.
60

Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

Polytechnique smartly exposes the spectrum of misogyny without overplaying the connection between the two incidents. Which makes the concluding flash-forward scene all the more disappointing: Designed to give hope, it comes off as an emotional sop instead.
50

The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

As much a memorial as it is a docudrama and as such it will interest educators and students, and make for sober television. It's a pity, though, that more of an attempt wasn't made to understand the killer and explain such things as why no one apparently thought to phone for help or hit the fire alarm.
50

Variety by Rob Nelson

A weaker "Elephant," Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve's school-shooting drama Polytechnique nevertheless distinguishes itself by endeavoring to comprehend the 25-year-old man who murdered more than a dozen female students at Montreal's Polytechnique School in 1989.

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