24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2011
"5150 Elm's Way" is a great movie, well acted and superbly directed and written.
Trying to understand the extent of this families mental illness, is like trying to unravel the mysteries of the human brain. What is apparent however, is that this family is far from normal, and whilst each member has their own reality, it is the father that has the most pronounced removal from reality. Convinced that he is a righteous man, and that one of his responsibilities is to rid the world of evil, makes for a disturbing premise. What one cannot imagine however, is the extent of his 'madness'.
Then along comes an innocent man, and all starts to unravel. The challenge for him however, is to escape the prevailing madness of the family that imprisons him, or to decent into that madness himself.
Extremely well written, this movie makes for a pronounced exploration of of the logic behind one man's insanity. The setting is disturbing in its naivety, and this in turn makes for a prevailing illusion of normality. Albeit with a underlying anxiety that all is not as it seems. Marcc-Andre Grondin (as Yannick) is as brilliant as ever. I loved him in "C.R.A.Z.Y" and was not disappointed by his performance in this psychological horror. Equally unsettling in her performance of the disturbed and violent daughter was Mylene St-Sauveur. Her cold brutality makes for a horrendous display of inhumanity, and her underlying intent to inherit her father's legacy seems to haunt the entire setting.
Unusual in its story, and ending. Wow
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2011
Yannick has just been accepted into film school, so he's leaving his parents and girlfriend behind to go on his two year course. He's happy to be leaving as his father is an overbearing idiot, and his mother is an alcoholic who has recently started drinking again. While Yannick is riding his bike, he has to break hard when a cat runs out in front of him. He goes sailing over the handlebars and crashes to the ground, he's pretty banged up and his bike's in even worse shape. As he gets up, he spots a man at the side of his house, so he asks if he can use his phone to call a cab. The man says that he'll go inside and phone the cab for him, Yannick then inspects his wounds and discovers that he's bleeding quite badly. He calls the man but gets no response, so he goes inside the house and washes his wounds in the sink. Once he's finished cleaning his wounds, he hears banging and what sounds like a man shouting for help. Yannick goes upstairs to discover a man lying on the floor bleading profusely, he leaves the room shaken and frightened just as the man is walking up the stairs. He tries to leave but is thrown into a child's room and the door is locked, the man soon returns with a shotgun and leads Yannick to a room with boarded up windows and nothing but blood stains on the floor. The man is soon revealed to be Jacques Beaulieu, who along with his overweight wife Maude, teenage daughter Michelle and his youngest daughter Anne who has special needs, keep him locked up to prevent him going to the police. It turns out that Jacques believes he is doing God's work, and for years he has been killing people who are unrighteous. Jacques has been grooming Michelle to take over his work, but when she is unable to go through with it and kill a pervert, Jacques' attention turns to Yannick. Jacques is a chess fanatic who has never lost, while keeping Yannick as a prisoner in his home and trying to get him to see his views on the unrighteous, he also plays chess with Yannick as he promised that if he wins he'll set him free.
The cast is quite small, apart from Yannick and the family, hardly anybody else is on screen. Marc-Andre Grondin gave a very good performance as Yannick, he starts as a happy idealistic young man who is then put through hell. I believed what I was seeing as he almost accepts his fate, and starts to go a little mad after a while. It was a very strong performance. Normand D'Amour also gave a fine performance as Jacques, you always know an actor has done a good job when he doesn't turn a character such as Jacques into a caricature. Despite the fact he's clearly a little crazy, his character is never a monster and at times I almost felt sorry for him. Sonia Vachon played Maude almost like a beaten housewife, although she doesn't agree with what Jacques is doing, she goes along with it anyway. If there's a real villain in the movie, then I'd say that it was Jacques' daughter, Michelle. Even though she doesn't go through with killing the pervert, she definitely seems to have no problem with inflicting pain on people. It is her that causes most of Yannick's physical pain, and the jealousy and hatred towards Yannick after she lets her father down is clear to see. Jacques does not believe in any unnecessary violence, where as Michelle needs very little prompting. The whole cast gave excellent, believable performances which elevate this film, far higher than most films of its ilk.
Eric Tessier is a director that I'll be keeping an eye on, if he continues to make films of this standard then he's going to become an excellent director. 5150 Elm's Way is a pretty long movie running at 110 minutes, the pace is slow but it was never boring. The strength of the performances and the interesting characters managed to hold my attention throughout. It's a normal family that have a dark secret, nobody would ever guess that Jacques has killed a dozen or more people. There's no nudity, which I was glad of as it would have felt extremely forced. There's little gore as it's much more of a drama/thriller than a horror, but the little blood shown is done well. The movie has a couple of disturbing moments, the moment we discover that Jacques has taken his chess obsession to an unhealthy level, and a scene towards the end was quite shocking and out of the blue.
The movie has been compared to the British horror film Mum And Dad, a film that I also enjoyed. Apart from the fact that someone is being kept against their will by what would seem like a normal family from the outside, they are very different movies. 5150 is quite a subtle film that concentrates much more on drama and is very character based, Mum And Dad is definitely a horror film and is much more brutal and graphic. This film also has much more sympathetic characters, where as the mum, dad and the "daughter" Birdie were sick and pure evil in Mum And Dad. If I had to choose, I would say that 5150 is the superior movie, but both are very good and I'm glad to have both in my collection. I probably slightly preferred Olga Fedori's excellent performance as Lena, over Grondin's Yannick, but both performances were central to their movies success.
5150 Elm's Way is a Canadian film, that was filmed in French. It has English subtitles. The film looks fantastic on DVD, and it was beautifully filmed. The cinematography and lighting is top notch, and it's shown off very nicely on DVD. Sadly there are no extras on the disc which was disappointing, a commentary from the director would have been nice, or even just a few interviews with the actors would have done.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2012
Yes, it's another "innocent stranger gets treated very badly in the home of a mental family" movie, and one of the better ones at that. The characters are surprisingly credible, and the dynamics between them extremely watchable, and the direction's pretty flawless. The problem is that plot flaws irritate me, particularly ones that could be easily written out. There's quite a few in this movie and I can't go through them individually without spoiling things, but they are quite stark, plus there's one less than credible coincidence towards the end, which is a shame, because it detracts from an otherwise brilliant conclusion. Good film, could have been great. BTW if you're enjoying these post Texas Chainsaw balmy family kidnap movies, try 'Mum and Dad'; although keep a bucket handy ...
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2012
The premis of this story is a good one but unfortunately it failed to fully engage me.
As a horror film I didn't see too many 'shock and gore' moments and I'm surprised it rated as an 18 certificate - possibly a 15 in my book. Also at 106 minute running time I found the pace a little pedentry; cutting one or two scenes that seemed to repeat events and trimming 10-15 minutes off would have made for a better overall effect.
There is some interesting psycological interplay between the two main characters and how the balance of power shifts between them and how this affects each, but for me it was too little too late.
If you're not into the current fad for gore and/or torture and want a film to watch and follow the characters journey then give this a go at this price point. It's a fair attempt a something different but, for me, doesn't quite pull it off.