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Laramie Movie Scope:

Existential tale of crime and punishment

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 20, 2014 -- Driving a small, vintage, tracked snowplow during heavy snowfall in Canada one night while drunk, Bruce (played by Thomas Hayden-Church of “Sideways”) accidentally hits and kills a man walking along the road. After hiding the body, Bruce heads off the road into the woods, driving wildly. He hits a tree, knocking the track off the rails on one side of his snowplow. He wakes up hours later, lost and stuck.

The reason why Bruce did not simply go back home is revealed later in the film. The reason is revealed during one of several imaginary conversations he has with the dead man, Paul Blackburn (played by Marc Labrèche) a neighbor. At first, these imaginary encounters take the form of Bruce being a hero, saving Paul from committing suicide. In one dreamlike scene, Bruce finds Paul trying to kill himself in a car with a hose hooked up to the exhaust pipe, to pipe carbon monoxide inside the vehicle's passenger compartment. Bruce also has imaginary conversations with the police in which he tries to evade responsibility for his crime.

In his fantasies, he lets Paul stay at his house. They have pleasant conversations, go to a local bar, talk about their financial problems. Much is revealed in these conversations about Bruce's past life, and how he ended up where he is. But these imaginary encounters become more and more sinister as Bruce's guilt about killing Paul starts to overcome his fantasies about helping Paul.

Bruce nearly dies trying to find his way out of the woods. Eventually he walks through the forest to a road where he finds a remote small restaurant and store. He buys food and supplies using money he stole from the body of Paul and walks back into the woods to his stuck snow plow. Reading a local newspaper at the restaurant, he discovers that he has been linked to Paul's disappearance because the dead man's car is parked in front of his house.

Walking off in another direction, Bruce finds a house next to a remote lake and steals food and other items from one of the out buildings. Bruce tries various schemes to try to hide the evidence of his crime, but everything seems to backfire. Witnesses see him trying to hide evidence. He keeps ending up back in the woods at his remote camp next to his snow plow.

Bruce is not a bad guy. What happened was an accident, but his attempts to conceal his guilt and his mental fantasies to evade responsibility have put him in self-imposed solitary confinement. The hours, days, weeks and months slowly pass as Bruce hides in isolation. He is going crazy in the prison he built.

This film effectively shows a descent into madness. It is also an effective story of crime and punishment. In this self-imposed exile, Bruce thinks to himself. “You know, they say that every guilty person is his own hangman. They also say tomorrow will be a better day. You know what I say, God damn, it's freezing.” This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)