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The Fall of the American Empire

A shy and insecure delivery truck driver accidentally arrives on the scene of a major crime and happens to pick up two bags of cash and hides them in his truck. Though an interrogation of two tough police detectives isn't enough, the guy, who has a doctor's degree in philosophy which makes his mind mingle with remorse, must find a way to get rid of this dirty money. Only the help of a prostitute and a former biker who came out of jail might get him out of trouble, especially that a gang leader is very weary to get his cash back or kill whoever is responsible for this mess. However, even the two bumbling detectives are monitoring the case as well.

"The rich grow richer and the poor are just collateral damage in The Fall Of The American Empire. More than thirty years after The Decline Of The American Empire, writer/director Denys Arcand still has some pertinent points to make about the state of the modern world. His new film is a sardonic, solidly entertaining fusion of crime caper and state of the nation rumination that should find favour with arthouse audiences who have remained loyal to Arcand through the years.

Money lies at the root of all the evils that Arcand observes. It is a theme repeated like a haunting refrain in a film that mourns the growing number of homeless sleeping on the streets of Montreal and the spread of food banks, and wags a rueful finger at all the corporate greed that fuels the inequalities of modern society.

Rather than attack his subject with bristling anger, Arcand approaches it with world-weary wit and the kind of warming optimism that might not appear out of place in a Frank Capra classic. The result is a little old-fashioned but also surprisingly endearing and feels like some of his best work in a while.

There are flaws in The Fall Of The American Empire, but it still works thanks to the thought-provoking material in the screenplay, some sharp lines and the quality of the performances. Alexandre Landry makes Pierre-Paul an endearingly naive, angst-ridden intellectual struggling to stay calm and survive an extraordinary situation that threatens to transform him into a latter-day Robin Hood. Arcand regular Remy Girard is a scene-stealing delight as “honest criminal” Bigras." - Allan Hunter, ScreenDaily

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Directed by: 
Denys Arcand
Running Time: 
Maxim Roy, Éric Bruneau, Maripier Morin
Screenplay by: 
Denys Arcand

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