What would you do when faced with two huge bags of cash, just lying on the floor? Admittedly lying next to the dead body of a thief who has just been shot as part of a robbery, but still, two huge bags of cash.
That’s the dilemma that faces the shy and retiring delivery man Pierre-Paul, Alexandre Landry (“True North (TV)”, “Blue Moon (TV)”), as he goes to make a delivery and, whilst stood at the back of his van, a shootout occurs resulting in the death of two men and one running away in much pain, having been shot in the arse.
The aforementioned two large bags of cash eat away at Pierre-Paul until he finally makes the decision. He grabs them both, throws them into his van just before the police arrive on the scene.
Those cops, Carla McDuff, Maxim Roy (“Bad Blood (TV)”, “Switch”) and Claude Legault (“19-2 (TV)”, “Mensonges (TV)”), know that Pierre-Paul has the money, they just can’t prove it.
Pierre-Paul meanwhile needs help to do something with the moment. He’s smart enough to know he just can’t go spending it as he wants.
It’s fortunate then that he hears on the TV about the release of Sylvain ‘The Brain’ Bigras, Remy Girard (“Les Boys”, “Jesus Of Montreal”), a money man who has helped criminals with their finances before being caught.
Pierre-Paul tracks him down and, eventually, manages to convince him to help him. When asked if he’s spent any of the money, Pierre-Paul reluctantly says he has, on an escort, Aspasie, Maripier Morin (“Julien Lacroix (TV)”, “Barman (TV)”).
Luckily for Pierre-Paul, Aspasie is nice and this trio set out to defy the odds and take home his ill-gotten gains. But it’s not just the police that are after them as the money belonged to some local gangsters, with vicious methods of getting people to talk.
The Fall Of The American Empire, the title coming from the fact that Pierre-Paul believes America’s big downfall was its relentless pursuit of the dollar, is a funny and very well written movie.
Writer / director Denys Arcand (“Jesus Of Montreal”, “Stardom”), puts in plenty of relatable and quotable lines, mostly from Pierre-Paul, as he riffs on the state of the consumeristic world we live in.
Whilst these lines are good, you do wonder if the whole film has just been created for the purpose of having someone get these lines out into the world. It’s not that they don’t fit with what else is occurring, you just wonder which came first. I’ll caveat this by saying I’ve not seen Arcand’s previous work so this could be his style.
The film is well acted by all involved, Landry, Girard and Morin work well together as this threesome with different agendas, different backgrounds and different methods of dealing with situations. Arcand puts them in places that allows a little bit of each one to come through.
There’s never a large sense of menace from the gangsters, perhaps the films only downfall, despite a particularly gruesome torture scene. But as a comedy with something to say, The Fall Of The American Empire works and works very well.