If the planet’s rockin’, don’t bother knockin’. That could be the tagline of Manon Briand’s environmentally hip romantic oddity, wherein a French-Canadian seismologist working in Japan is sent to a small bay in Northern Quebec because the tide has stopped coming in.
Greenhouse effect? Environmental damage? Earthquake precursor? It’s Alice’s job to find out, and she’s a good choice for the job. Her emotional tide has ebbed long ago – when the film opens, she’s in bed in Tokyo, finishing off a one-night stand, looking out the window of what appears to be a soulless, 21st-century megalopolis.
Once in Canada, she finds the inhabitants of the bay behaving strangely – they’ve turned the exposed ocean bed into a golf course, it’s unbearably humid, and at the same time on the same day, residents did something out of the ordinary. So Alice (Pascale Bussieres), teaming with a hunky pilot with his own unchecked baggage (Jean-Nicolas Verreault) and a lesbian scientist (Julie Gayet), zips about town in her used delivery truck to investigate.
Briand’s excellent widescreen composition and Brussieres’ cool, composed sunglassed figure are immediately inviting, and the townspeople, who include diner owner Genevieve Bujold, are quirky but not overly so. The apocalyptic message, techno soundtrack and sophisticated approach evoke similar feelings to Wim Wenders’ underrated ‘90’s masterpiece “Until the End of the World,” except that Briand wraps things up a bit quicker, with a masterful climax (literally) that brings together her ecological and emotional themes.