Denis Villenueve's Polytechnique is a haunting dramatization of the shooting which took place at a Montreal school
in 1989. Similar to Gus Van Sant's film, Polytechnic spends time early on in the film creating a sense of foreboding dread, that lingers up into the actual catastrophe begins. Polytechnique use of the monochrome palette with stark cinematography only elevates the tension, creating a mounting sense of unease that delivers an abrasive response when the carnage begins. Villeneuve spends a lot of time with not only the victims but also with the killer, making no judgements of the situation, intent on simply recreating a historical event and making the viewer wallow in it. Similiar but different than Gus Van Sant's Elephant, Polytechnique's structure is layered through the use of various viewpoints. For the most part the story ir emotionally exhausting and resonant but there are a few moments where validity comes into question, being how emotionally manipulative they seemed to be. Villenueve's artistic craft serves a film like Polytechnique well, using beautiful photography and great use of sound design to deliver a haunting but important record of a terrible school shooting in Montreal in the late 80s.
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