After her home is burned down by vengeful drug dealers, Claire (played by Juliette Lewis) decides to head from Montreal to Toronto in order to reunite with the man she loves. Murder, heart break, and a case of mistaken identity (as well as fake accents) develop in the film 2001 Picture Claire.
Upon Claire’s arrival into Toronto, it very apparent that is a fish out of water scenario. Being only able to speak French, Claire experiences a very difficult language barrier. Unfortunately this is not very convincing due to Juliette Lewis’ badly done French accent. This can be obvious to even non French speakers because of her pronunciations of some French words (such as madame) in very clear English.
Upon a brief moment at his apartment, Claire finds that the man who persuaded her to visit him, a man named Laramie (played by Callum Keith Rennie), is not home. In this scene is where a split screen is used to show what she expected and what actually happened. This split screen technique is used quite well when trying to illustrate points. Although in some cases it can be disorienting. (The screen would break down into 20 screens at times). Only finding a small clue in the form of a photography flier, Claire walks into a local bakery to ask about a certain location. This eventually morphs into the scene of a murder committed by one criminal to another.(The killer played by Gina Gershon, and the victim by Mickey Rourke) The killing itself is done in the very cleverest way I have seen used with wire choking. This soon leads to Claire falsely being sought after by the police as the suspect of the murder. What leads afterwards is Claire on a quest to clear her name in a series of close calls and techno pumped chase scenes.
Picture Claire becomes a pseudo suspense movie due to stale acting that ranges from just passable to reading off cue cards. The character of Claire comes off more as a person with a mental problem rather than somebody trying to adjust to strange and new surroundings. Her anger outbursts toward seeing photographs of herself used in an art exhibit seem to resemble a comical imitation of child’s tantrum. The British lover of Laramie speaks in a very exaggerated English accent(a strange occurrence since the actress Camilla Rutherford herself is English), and most of the time sounds as if she is reciting lines from a Shakespearian play .The two criminals following Lily(Gina Gershon) border on being abbot and Costello than they do as to intimidating figures that are supposed to impose fear into her.
The acting self is also weakened by certain facts and situations that are never made clear to us. We are never really told who Lily or the other criminals really are. And the scenes of the relationship between Claire and Laramie are too brief. This makes very difficult for us to believe that a man and woman who can’t speak each other’s languages have become so enamored with each other.
Location is another important factor is in this film. Aside from moving to a new city, the streets are named to us as characters travel from one area to another. Giving the audience an extended tour of the city of Toronto. Of course it seemed a little too convenient that Laramie and Lily happen to share the same apartment building. In addition, it is odd that parading Chinese dragon dancers interrupt a vial chase, even though no actual parade is occurring around the dragon dancers.
In total, Picture Claire is an attempt at suspense that barely holds together. I’d say skip this film and watch something more worthwhile with your time.