Elephant song

Xavier Dolan is everywhere these days. His film Mommy is winning international acclaim and awards, he’s about to embark on an international career, and he stars in Charles Binamé’s Elephant song. 1966. In a psychiatric hospital. Dr. Lawrence has gone missing and it’s up to Dr. Green (Bruce Greenwood) to find out what happened to him. Since Dr. Green is convinced that Michael (Dolan), the last patient to have seen Dr. Lawrence, knows what happened, he meets Michael in Lawrence’s office to investigate. Michael is manipulative, seems to know everything about people private lives. It becomes difficult for Dr. Green to get the truth out of Michael and remain in control of the situation. Meanwhile, Nurse Susan Peterson (Catherine Keener), who brought Michael to Dr. Green, is worried about what will happen in Dr. Lawrence’s office. She knows all about Michael’s mind games and manipulative tricks. Dolan and Greenwood work well together. At first it looks as if Xavier Dolan’s acting was too aloof and mannered. But people who saw Dolan on TV being interviewed see that same kind aloofness and those mannerism that makes him such a peculiar celebrity. Playing Michael, Dolan uses all those to create a unforgetable character. If you compare him to Michael, Dr. Green is a boring character. That makes Bruce Greenwood’s job more difficult. As an actor he has to make Dolan shine, keep the story moving, and make Green an interesting, multilayered person. He is successfully walking on that tightrope. Both actors are well supported by Catherine Keener and the rest of the cast. Charles Binamé has a weird way of building the suspense. He directs Elephant song as if everything, every table, every mirrors, every boxes in Dr. Lawrence’s office knew the secret of his sudden disappearance, as if they were a menace.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Elephant song

Directed by:
Charles Binamé
Screenplay by:
Nicolas Billon
based on his own play
Bruce Greenwood
Xavier Dolan
Catherine Keener
Carrie-Anne Moss
Colm Feore
99 min.
Rated Parental Guidance

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