The Trotsky (Canada, 2009, Jacob Tierney)
How could I not like this movie? How? Taps into Rushmore and there's a wiff of Napolean Dynamite too. And please help me remember another teen/high school picture about some guy who is encouraged to join some club by some girl he thinks digs him but doesn't and in the end he's realizes that he's been used but at least he reconciles with his dad in the parking lot; thought it was called Bottle Rocket, but it's not, is it?[ed. the film Ben is thinking of is Rocket Science] But now I'm just flashing on the few, cool adolescent comedies I've seen in the last decade. Point is, The Trotsky is one of them.
Of course, I'm a sucker for the radicalism, even if it is nothing but iconic kitsch. 'Cause it ain't. The Trotsky never loses its sense of humour but it is not totally ironic about it's message either. However jaded and downright silly, the film also implicitly says that there are some things from the failed socialist past that are still vital, still necessary if we are to move forward. At the very least, the protagonist has historical knowledge that is not trivial and activist committment that is admirable.
I also dig the Canadian content. What a nice change from all those episodes of the TV show, Night Heat, filmed in Toronto and pretending unconvincingly to be New York. It's cool to see Montreal be Montreal, with some recognition of the Franco fact of the matter beyond the Anglo enclave of the film's setting. How this aspect of The Trotsky may have registered on anyone who has ever lived in Montreal, I would like to be told. Meanwhile, it's fun to see some of the Canadian heavyweights in cinema weigh in, especially Genevieve Bujold who is still as beautiful as ever.
In the end, though, The Trotsky rests on the shoulders of the actor playing our hero, the lad who would be Lev Davidovich Bronstein. It's a charming performance, full of intellectual wit and good-natured charisma, but also take-charge sex appeal, albeit of the nerd variety. As far-fetched as the premise is about him believing himself to be Trotsky come again, his passion is appealing. So much so, it becomes quite believable that he could win over all the people that he does, included a very attractive woman with a Ph.D. who is a decade older than him. Hey, I am confident that he's going to convince the Vladimir Ilyich guy he finally tracks down that he is the Lenin to lead the revolution.
Here is the trailer, comrades: