'Beautiful Somewhere' bogs down

JIM SLOTEK - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 4:35 AM ET

In the opening scene of That Beautiful Somewhere, the odd, glum romance by Robert Budreau, a cop (Roy Dupuis) sits in his car, suffering flashbacks from his Bosnian war past ... and puts a gun to his head.

Shortly thereafter, a young woman (Jane McGregor) is in her room suffering from what we will learn are almost fatally-chronic migraines. She picks up an electric drill, puts it to her temple, starts it up and ...

Yes, it's another movie from Canada -- the unhappiest place on Earth!

These two wretches are fated to meet and fall into a sad sort of love, one informed by pain. He's Det. Conk Adams, an Armed Forces veteran turned Northern Ontario cop, whose mother is in a vegetative state following a car accident (though she looks great -- almost as if she's an actress pretending to be in a coma. She's even nicely lit).

And she's Catherine Nyland, who ... well, I already told you. She has very, very bad migraines. She's also an archeology professor with a special interest in those naturally mummified ancient corpses known as "bog people."

This interest brings them together when Catherine comes from the city to discern whether a body in a bog is the corpse of a fugitive criminal or someone far older.

The bent opening for That Beautiful Somewhere is actually sort of promising, since it suggests a kind of dry outrageousness of the David Lynchian variety might be on offer. Who knows, you're thinking, this might even turn out to be archly funny.

But no such luck. Once Catherine and Conk get together for an hour and a half of painfully-laconic exchanges, the movie takes on a studied mirthlessness, the dialogue becoming dry to the point of desiccation (it takes until the last act of the movie before she even gets around to making fun of his name).

The bog is lovely and haunting. And as it turns out, the identity of the corpse -- a 19th century legendary Native outlaw named Red Wind (Lindsey Cote, as seen in the movie's helpful historical flashbacks) -- leads them to the only character in the movie with a pulse. That would be Red Wind's disgruntled descendant Harold (Gordon Tootoosis), who initially wants nothing to do with the two depressed white-eyes (seriously, who would?), but who becomes an intrinsic part of the goings-on once Catherine puts two and two together and realizes the bog is actually key to an ancient Native healing ceremony.

Hey, when Tylenol isn't enough ...

As familiar as it all is for those of us who are desperate for Canadian movies to tell stories that don't involve the chronically depressed shuffling around like suicidal goth teenagers, the underlying weirdness quotient in That Beautiful Somewhere at least kept me interested long enough for the straight-outta-Shakespeare tragic ending.

In fact, I'd go so far as to call the ending plagiarism, except that, as they say, there are only about seven stories to tell in the world anyway and the Bard wrote all of them.

But at least he enjoyed a laugh or two.

(This film is rated PG)


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