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  • 3.9
  • passes the bechdel test
A searing drama based on true events. In December, 1989, a disturbed killer stalked the campus of Montreal Polytechnique with one goal in mind: to target as many young women as possible.
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Member Reviews (6)

A visually poignant piece of work that fails to make an impression emotionally. A fact made especially curious by the film's richly dramatic subject matter.

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

Devastating, horrific and important, Denis Villeneuve's 2009 film does not seek to exploit or more importantly it does not attempt to "understand" the impossible. A masterful examination of the tragic 1989 Ecole Polytechnique Montreal massacre where an insane young man walked into the Engineer University armed and killed 14 women.

Villeneuve does not shy from informing the audience that this attack was caused by a rage against women and the idea of Feminism.This is key as the horrific event was an act of hatred toward women.

At the same time, the director is able to break from the realm of the political to show us that this insanely angry 25 year old man was isolated, lonely and confused. This sort of act of violence is not just politically motivated.

All the more tragic, both the horrendous event that took place at the end of 1989 and this movie released 6 years ago are both painfully valid all this time later.

Unlike Gus Van Sant's "Elephant," this film is not aiming for cinematic poetry or shock. It takes aim at a society that fails to notice, that allows unneeded min-assualt guns to anyone and the failure to respond. The Montreal tragedy changed gun laws and caused a major re-think regarding emergency response. It has also served as a political motivator against hate crimes. If only the US government would take similar actions.

Aside from the film working exceptionally well, the acting is extremely effective. Pierre Gill's black and white cinematography is truly masterful. Elegant and from disorienting POV, the camera work not only adds to the intensity of the film -- it is a marvel unto to itself.

top reviewer

A disturbing work of art by Denis Villaneuve, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite modern auteurs.

lame and uses a lame cover of one of the best songs that came out of the 80s.

After the back to back successes of Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, I decided that I needed to delve into Villeneuve's back catalog. I had steered clear of this film due to the heavy subject matter and the fact I'd seen Gus Van Sant's Elephant and didn't think I'd be able to glean anything from Villeneuve's treatment of this topic. I finally gathered up the courage to watch it and I'm so glad I did. This is so extremely well done. I can't believe it doesn't get talked about more.

Polytechnique is a visually and emotionally stunning piece that uses a simple and unpretentious style, but one that is also incredibly noticeable and engaging; the perfect student film. Denis Villenueve has gone on to make masterpieces, and his roots are evident with this quietly moving film.