Every country has their extraordinary criminals, and Canada is no different. One key difference with notorious contract killer Gerald Gallant though, is just how ordinary he otherwise was. Living a mostly quiet suburban life, he carried out 27 hits (and attempted 12 more) in 25 years and went almost entirely unnoticed. Confessions of a Hitman chronicles that life and its absurd banality with Luc Picard in both the starring role and the director’s chair.
Picard is an excellent actor and director (he just won the Borsos Award for Best Direction at the Whistler Film Festival for this film), and the film shines when these facts are at the forefront. As Gallant, Picard gives an appropriately low-key performance. It would have been easy to re-write the part to be flashier or more animated, but Gallant was a short man with a stammer who appeared as though he’d never hurt a fly. He managed to have both a wife and a long term girlfriend, but even that is more of a result of his perseverance than his charisma. It’s a strangely compelling performance for a character who is –at his core– rather dull.
He also knows how to frame a scene, and those that take place either while Gallant is setting up to make a hit or in the immediate aftermath of one stand out the most. The camera moves through crime scenes that would seemingly result from a much more action-oriented film, but you realize this is mostly the detritus of a fleeing crowd, not a hitman gone crazy.
At just under two hours in length, the film is a little on the slow side at times, but given the banality of the crimes being committed, it never fails at holding your attention either.
Confessions of a Hitman is playing online as part of the Whistler Film Festival.
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