The Movie Of The Summer Is This Surveillance Footage From Canada
July marks the year’s midway phase, at which period critics take stock of the best movies to grace our screens to date. Countless listings are popping up across the internet, but none contain the actual best movie of 2018, a thrilling and ambitious silent movie that evokes shades of ’7 0s-era crook paintings with a touch of “Mission: Impossible.”
I’m referring, of course, to the footage of a man and woman attempting to evaded apprehend at a convenience store in Alberta, Canada. The video, which ran viral late last week after a CTV station published it online, accomplishes in less than three minutes what many movies fail to in more than 90. Its characters — 29 -year-old Brittany Burke and 28 -year-old Richard Pariseau, who had reportedly use a stolen charge card to buy a can of soda and thought they could flee law enforcement — are insigniums of ingenuity, a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. We can envisage their entire personalities simply by watching their relentless, and ultimately futile, quest to determine a secret escape route.
What attains this movie superlative-worthy is not just Brittany and Richard’s chutzpah — plenty of people would go to great lengths to avoid the Five-O, even in Canada, where cops probably ask if suspects want poutine, eh? No, what induces this movie superlative-worthy is how spectacularly well-edited it is. The tension is Hitchcockian.
Let’s break it down.
The scene please open media res; our antiheroes have already been caught. They stand near the entryway with a policeman and the store owner’s husband, who to the untrained eye looks like a plainclothes civilian taking the law’s side.( I will hereby refer to him as “civilian.”) But Brittany and Richard won’t be thwarted so soon. They attempt to burst through the door — the obvious first route — but end up tumbling to the ground in a heap with the cop, tearing the oversized white T-shirt that Richie Rich is wearing from his back. Meanwhile, the store clerk stands idly behind the register. Just another day on the job.
We don’t need to see the skirmish play out in full to know that this shit is going to be an adrenaline doozy.
The video cuts to Richard , now shirtless.
In a classic action-movie cut, he dashes out of the frame and into a new shooting, entering a storage room at the back of the store. He searches for an exit.
The next shot cuts back to the aisles, with Brittany’s persisting tussle positioned on the far left of the screen — a visual Easter egg, as our eyes float directly to the center, where all is quiet on the Western Front until Richard bursts back into the showroom.
The overhead camera sits stationary as Richard’s long legs carry him to the end of an aisle. He at first feels safeguarded by the bags of candy he limply threatens to fling at the policeman, who has turned his attention from Brittany to Richard’s naked torso. At this point, Brittany, who appears to be constrained by the civilian — go home, sir! — bobs out of the frame.
Near the wall of cold beverages, things are getting serious. The cop marches toward Richard, who drops his confectionery weapon upon insuring a taser pointed in his direction. We still can’t hear what’s happening, but we don’t need to: Richard quickly descends to the( presumably dirty) floor. The tension is mounting. Don’t tase him, bro.
Here, the cop reaches down toward him, and Richard springs up, startling the officer. But wait. The scene cuts from a wide shoot surveying the store to a close-up that presents Brittany striding toward her accomplice. In the far background, the civilian opens the door, ostensibly expecting backup to arrive. Brittany find the man as the policeman waves her away, Richard hunched on his knees before rising, get tased and flopping back down like a wooden committee.
The most suspenseful movies keep us wondering about the action unfolding on the periphery, so the scene rapidly cuts away from Richie and the officer altogether. After dealing with the civilian near the doorway, Brittany turns around and walkings deeper into the store. A broad shoot reveals that she is heading for the storage room that Richard scampered through earlier. Great intellect. Or something.
The action cuts to the center of the store, where the civilian is still using a cellphone and Richard is still wrestling with the cop. What is Brittany doing? We know she has a strategy, but our inability to witness it firsthand creates stress. Cue Bernard Herrmann’s “Psycho” strings. Richard violates free of the officer’s prying grip, dashing again through the aisles toward the cash register. He attains it all the way to the front door before being pinned down by the civilian and the policeman. This criminal can’t catch a break. They fight as the cashier looks on, still unfazed.
And now here we go. Time for the very best.
Twenty-one seconds have passed since we ensure Brittany vanish from the showroom, enough time for her to have pulled off God knows what. In the next cut, she emerges from the depths of a darkened bathroom in the storage closet, skipping the steps that failed Richard earlier. Aha! She climbs up toward the ceiling, where a camera happens to be perched. Is she hiding? Even better: She is crawling into the ceiling.
Once she clambers in and vanishes from sight, the video cuts back to the front door, where the cop is again straddling Richard until he sinks to the floor. He pins him to the ground like “theyre on” a wrestling mat or in a slow-burning homosexual porn outtake. As this is happening, we know that Brittany is somewhere in the roofing. Where she thinks she’s running is anyone’s guess. Does she hope it will result her outdoors? To another store? No matter what, you have to admire the gumption.
Hitchcock once said that a bomb suddenly running off underneath a table is a surprise, whereas tangible suspense is created in the audience’s awareness that the bomb is already sitting under the table. That’s what Brittany’s disappearance is. With the policeman confused by Richard’s refusal to go down softly, we know that she could be close to finding a way out of their situation. We need to know where Brittany is!
The scene cuts from Richard and the cop to a static shoot of what seems like an empty store. You can imagine tumbleweed rolling across the floor, like it might a grime road before a standoff in a Western.
And then, the big kahuna. The grand finale we’ve all been waiting for. Brittany induces her triumphant return, crashing through the ceiling and tumbling to the floor. She’s merely wearing one shoe. Multiple policemen have arrived.
By this point, it’s time to give up. Even Brittany knows it. She traipses to the end of the aisle, creating her limbs in resignation and diving onto the floor. Two policemen parade Brittany outdoors while four continue to restrain Richard.
Miraculous. Thelma Schoonmaker would be proud of the tension conveyed in the smart cuts this video use. At every turn, we glean a bit more insight into this duo’s resourcefulness, however misguided it is possible to. There’s nary a second of dead weight. The video utilizes common movie grammar to devote us the tools to plug in details excised from the final product. Blockbuster editors, especially those of the superhero assortment, could learn a thing or two from its economy.
According to CTV, Richard faces 11 charges, including resisting arrest and using a stolen charge card, and Brittany faces three charges, including obstructing an officer and mischief.
Mischief constructs for all the best movies.