A Solid Thriller | The Journal of Montreal

Director Rafaël Ouellet had to be patient before being able to bring the screenplay ofArsenault & Sons, a story that he carries with him and that he has been refining for more than ten years now. The wait was long but it was worth it: by appropriating with an assumed ambition the codes of thrillerthe filmmaker signs a gripping and smoothly conducted thriller.

The Arsenault family leads the way in the small village of Bas-du-Fleuve where they have been well anchored for several generations. The brothers Adam (Guillaume Cyr) and Anthony Arsenault (Pierre-Paul Alain) run, with their father (Luc Picard), a garage that bears their name. But this family business serves them, in fact, as a front to hide their illicit poaching activities.

Everyone in the village knows that the Arsenaults hunt year-round and sell their meat illegally in New Brunswick and the United States. But thanks in particular to surveillance cameras installed in the middle of the forest and all around the garage, the clan has always managed to escape the vigilance of the game wardens.

But Adam, the good guy in the family, is getting fed up with this lifestyle. Captain of the volunteer firefighters, he would like to eventually be able to earn an honest living by devoting himself more to his work as a mechanic. On the other hand, Anthony sinks deeper and deeper into the world of crime by spawning with a band of petty criminals. The arrival of Émilie (Karine Vanasse), a radio host, will wreak havoc between the Arsenault brothers.

Tension climate

Rafael Ouellet (Truck, Gurov and Anna) found a good vein by situating the plot of his seventh feature film in the little-known world of poaching. This environment rarely shown in the cinema allowed him to integrate into his family drama all the elements of a good thriller detective: suspense, action, stunts and, of course, firearms.

By very skilfully setting up a climate of sustained tension, the filmmaker has constructed a thrilling thriller that keeps us spellbound for 1 hour 40 minutes, without neglecting the depth and complexity of his characters. The rural setting in which the plot is set also brings an original and personal touch to the film, which was shot in the region of origin of Ouellet, Témiscouata.

For his biggest film role to date, Guillaume Cyr delivers a performance worthy of his talent, in the guise of a good guy who had the misfortune to be born into a family of bandits. But the great revelation of the film turns out to be Pierre-Paul Alain, whose charisma and raw energy burst onto the screen.

A great success.

  • Arsenault & Sons ★★★★☆

A film by Rafael Ouellet

With Guillaume Cyr, Pierre-Paul Alain, Karine Vanasse and Luc Picard. On display.

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