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Incendies

[Rating: 1.5/5]

“Incendies,” which was the Canadian entry into the Oscar race for Best Foreign Film, feels like the kind of movie which has its genesis with a writer staying up too late, drinking too much, and saying to his best pal, “You know what would be messed up?   What if _____________ ?   THAT would be messed up.”

And then he works backwards to make the messed up thing plausible, and then he works to make it political/symbolic, and then he works to make it artistic/important.  And even if he achieves all of those things – and he does, in “Incendies,”  he can’t escape the fact that the original idea was the product of a drunken, over-tired mind.

Adult twins are assigned a task by their recently deceased mother, through her will: you can’t bury my body properly until you deliver a letter to your long-lost father, and another one to the brother you never knew you had.  Both live (probably) in a country halfway around the world.  Good luck.

The male half of the wonder-twin pair just wants to scrap the whole thing; probably he realizes the journey is going to be emotionally exhausting, that he’s likely to learn some things about his crazy, high-maintenance mother he’s rather not know, and it’s all going to have some larger political/moral/spiritual point to it that’s probably pretty obvious but is going to be melodramatically illustrated anyway, because that’s why people send letters from beyond the grave and embark on quixotic quests, isn’t it?  Sometimes you’re better off just staying home, sitting on the couch, and watching a movie.

But they embark on the quest anyway, and they discover the shocking truth, and I’m not going to tell you what it is, because that would “spoil” it, but I will say this: it’s icky.  And highly improbable.  And feels like something that a writer thought up way too late at night after drinking way too much red wine.

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