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Pouvoir Intime

(AKA Blind Trust, Intimate Power) 1986, Starring Marie Tifo, Pierre Curzi, Jacques Godin, Robert Gravel, Jean-Louis Millette. Directed by Yves Simoneau.

Yves Simoneau's Pouvoir Intime is a great little "heist-gone-wrong" film rife with conspiracies, violence, and an engaging battle of wits. Simoneau wisely obscures many things in this movie, which keeps the intrigue (and interest) running high throughout.

Tough convict Theo is visited on the eve of his release by a man named Mersault. The mysterious Mersault represents the even more mysterious HB. Both apparently work in separate, secretive branches of the government. Mersault wants the convict to pull a heist on a Brinks truck, and makes a deal with Theo that if he is able to retrieve a particular bag being carried by the truck, he can keep all the money bags in return. When Theo gets out of the joint, he immediately finds his son Robin, a delinquent with an unfortunate moustache attempt, his ex-cell mate, a set builder named Gilder and Gilder's girlfriend Roxanne.

Together, the four case a diner where the Brinks heist is planned to take place. The Brinks truck stops there at noon everyday, leaving one man in the truck while the others pick up lunch. Gilder tells Roxanne that one of the Brinks guards is working with them, and points him out. There are three other guards that work on that truck, and before they leave, Roxanne accidently witnesses a scene between Martial, one of the guards, and Janvier a waiter at the diner. It seems that they are having a secretive homosexual affair.

The cast of the theater company where Gilder works is on tour, so Theo decides to use the empty building as their headquarters. The plan? All four will wait outside the diner until the truck is about to leave. The inside man will be in the truck, and when the others come out of the diner, Theo will grab a disguised Roxanne, put a gun to her head and demand the keys. Robin will cover the guards from the rear with a shotgun. Then they'll take off, hijacking the entire truck.

When it finally goes down, things don't go as easy as Theo anticipated. First of all, the inside man is sick, and ends up in the diner's bathroom, throwing up. Because one guard has to stay in the truck at all times, Martial goes back in the truck to cover for him. As the other guards exit the diner, Theo grabs Roxanne. Seeing his man walking with the others, Theo is caught off guard long enough that Martial opens the back door and pulls out his gun. Theo wheels around and shoots him, and Robin, panicking, shoots all three of the other guards in the back. Martial falls into the truck, wounded. Through the diner's large plate glass window, the customers have seen everything, and so has Janvier! Trying to make the best of the situation, Roxanne and Gilder jump in the truck and take off, with Theo and Robin bringing up the rear in Gilder's car. They drive back to a pre-arranged location, where Gilder has constructed a disguise for the truck. With the addition of painted wooden panels on every side, the truck now appears to be a mini-school bus! Now relaxing a bit, Gilder easily drives the truck back to the theater company to meet up with Theo.

This heist is long from being over, though. Martial, still alive in the back, has locked the door from the inside as he lies bleeding on the floor. Theo figures Martial is dead, and gets out the blowtorch to open up the truck. When a gun appears through one of the portals in the side of the truck, and Robin catches a bullet in the shoulder, they have to quickly regroup and think of a new plan. Roxanne sneaks onto the roof of the truck and using a can of red spray paint, covers the windows so that Martial cannot see out. Then, they try flooding Martial out using a firehouse stuck in one of the portals. It doesn't work. Finally, Roxanne hits on another idea. She tells the others about Janvier, and that Martial might come out if he sees him.

So, she goes out into the night and finds Janvier. She attempts to kidnap him, but after a struggle, she tells him that Martial needs his help and Janvier agrees to go. But will this make a difference? Things have gone horribly wrong from the beginning, and now both Robin and Martial will die without medical attention. Meanwhile, Mersault and HB are tired of waiting for the undisclosed bag. They call a very nervous Gilder, falsely tell him that the cops are on their way, and then head to the hideout themselves. When it finally all goes down, the contents of the mysterious bag are revealed, some characters will be dead and others will end up with a big pay off.

Pouvoir Intime comes off like Dog Day Afternoon meets Kidnapping of the President, but it is autonomous enough to transcend these films and come into it's own right. I especially liked the way the gay characters are treated in this film neither condescendingly nor indulgently. The plot does not depend on their sexuality, as it does in so many other films with gay protagonists. These are just characters that happen to be gay, and Simoneau could have easily made Janvier a female waitress with almost no change to the film. The roles of the criminals, the bank guards, and the government agents are not as black and white as they originally seem. Just who the sympathetic " good guys" and the manipulative "bad guys" are in Pouvoir Intime depends upon at what point you are watching it.

Simoneau revisited some of the themes he touches on in Pouvoir Intime with a more satirical touch in his later movie Dans le Ventre du Dragon. Pouvoir Intime is a little more character focused than most Canuxploitation films, but the plot is still very much rooted in the B-movie heist tradition. An ultimately enjoyable little film with an intriguing story.

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