Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Company You Keep, Gabrielle Rose, and so forth (BC-film related)

If I had the resources, I would hire a t-shirt shop to make Gabrielle Rose a "made in BC" t-shirt with a line drawing of the map of the province on it. Not because she's from BC - she is - but because in more than one instance its her presence in a film that twigs me to the fact that it was shot here. I mean, I don't exactly have a keen eye for these matters: there are dozens of times that I've watched a made in Vancouver film and not realized it was shot here until midway through when some glaringly obvious landmark pops up, like when Arnold Schwarzenegger drives a truck through the Simon Fraser University campus in The Sixth Day or when Save On Meats pops up in Dreamcatcher - but more than any single building or landscape, the handiest signifier that a movie was made in BC for me is the presence of Gabrielle Rose.

Case-in-point: The Company You Keep. By me, this is an under-appreciated, entirely workable (but not particularly remarkable) film with an excellent cast and an interesting story, involving the fallout of 1960's radicalism and its lingering relevance today. Before Ms. Rose appears, I hadn't been certain that it was filmed in BC; there's a scene set in what sure LOOKS like the Granville Street Skytrain station - the eastbound platform with those distinctive red railings - but all train stations look a bit alike, and I had otherwise been seduced by the film's use of Vancouver and the outlying area to represent about five different American cities, so I wasn't sure. But there she is, with maybe one line of dialogue, playing Brendan Gleeson's wife, standing by him as Shia LaBoeuf, as an ambitious journalist, questions him in his role in possibly helping a couple of 60's radicals from the Weather Underground go underground. She might as well walk on screen holding a placard saying "Welcome to BC!" And that's a good thing, I always like these moments (it's about the fifth US film shot here where she's served exactly the same function. Another I recall was Uwe Boll's mediocre, bizarrely expensive Lord of the Rings knockoff, In the Name of the King).  

Anyhow, The Company You Keep is by no means a bad movie. If there wasn't such a glut of available cinema (I hereby acknowledge my debt to David M. for my use of the word "glut") it might even get a recommendation from me, as a thinking-person's thriller and decent drama, well-assembled by director Robert Redford. But for a Vancouver film buff, I can think of no better reason to see it than the fact there are some very big name actors in the film, and it's pretty fun to know they all converged on Vancouver for the shoot. I wonder where Nick Nolte hung out when he wasn't on set?

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