Monica La Mitraille [Machine-Gun Molly] (2004)

(In French, In theaters, May 2004) While it’s not true to speak of Monique “Machine Gun Molly” Sparvieri as a folk heroine, she does have a place in the small pantheon of French-Canadian criminals. Coming from the slums on post-war Montreal, her life in crime proved more acceptable than most other options, and if the film does one thing relatively well, it’s to depict the hard life she led. It helps that Céline Bonnier does such a good job portraying the title character, with all of her flaws and complicated relationships. (As usual with French-Canadian cinema, almost all supporting roles are filled with familiar faces) Unfortunately, the film isn’t as rigorous when comes the time to present a coherent story on top of its anecdotal scenes: The passage of time feels muddled, some events make sense only in retrospect and -to make things worse- a number of frustrating shortcuts are taken (such as having everyone meet repeatedly over the same stretch of The Main). The final impression is fragmented, leaving the impression of having seen a two-hour promo for Georges-Hébert Germain’s biography. While one gets that Machine-Gun Molly was a formidable woman, the film doesn’t care to spell out which kind of formidable.

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