(On Cable TV, October 2012) There is nothing special about Crisis Point, and at times it seems as if this is entirely intentional. This film wouldn’t have existed without the perverse consequences of cultural protectionism: Canada assigns movie-channel network licenses on the condition that they broadcast at least X% of Canadian content, so there is a captive market for cheap Canadian movies. Quality is not a priority for films sporting the TMN/Super Écran/Movie Central logos in the credit sequence, and Crisis Point seems blander than most. The linear storyline seems painfully familiar even from the lengthy get-go: After a hostage negotiator bungles a case, she finds herself targeted in a subsequent bank robbery. Montréal stands-in for Detroit, but the limited budget ensures that there’s no leaving the land of cheap “made for TV” films: the editing is slack, the cinematography is sparse and some stock footage jumps out. Rhona Mitra headlines as the protagonist, but Crisis Point’s script is as by-the-numbers as they come: the lifeless plot isn’t helped along by a rhythm that takes forever to go anywhere. The beginning is interminable, the ending never seems to end, and the film feels very, very long even at its mandated 90-minutes duration. It’s hard to imagine anyone outside Crisis Point’s cast and crew being actually excited about the product they have delivered to the maw of the cable channels. Even excuses about how the film isn’t terrible, about the jobs created along the way, about the experience that the cast and crew got from the production don’t really excuse the fact that the final result is dull and formulaic. The budget constraints must be painful, but it doesn’t cost much more to pay for a script that actually generates some narrative momentum, features compelling dialogue or creates characters we haven’t seen a thousand times before. Sure, we Canadians enjoy seen home-grown content on-screen… but it’s even better when it’s actually any good.