2 secondes (1998)
Director: Manon Briand
Cast: Charlotte Laurier, Dino Tavarone, Jonathan Bolduc
Synopsis: Laurie, a professional downhill racer gets fired because of her slight overindulgence in irresponsibility. She returns to Montreal where she is welcomed by her geeky but cute brother.
Laurie (Charlotte Laurier) is a downhill bike racer whose first grey hair is accompanied by a two-second hesitation at the start of a race that convinces her boss that, at twenty-eight, she is too old for the sport. “When bikers get old they start to think,” he tells her as her imaginary self throttles the excitable young girl already drafted in to take her place. Laurie moves in with her brother and finds work as a bicycle courier so that she can continue riding her bike while earning enough to pay her share of the rent. She also meets Lorenzo (Dino Taverone), the gruff, unfriendly proprietor of a bicycle repair shop and a one-time road racer. At first they share an adversarial relationship, but eventually Lorenzo’s heart begins to thaw and a close friendship develops…
For such a slight story it is to 2 Seconds credit that it is quite an enjoyable time-filler, although it never manages to constantly hit that mix of humour and winning sentiment for which it so clearly strives. Manon Briand’s quirky direction beguiles and annoys in equal measure as he sometimes struggles to find interesting ways to show people riding bikes, then hits imaginative heights with a housefly’s POV shot of Laurie in the bath just before it fries itself on a light bulb. Much of the film comes across as a bunch of personal anecdotes from a real-life bicycle courier that have simply been thrown at the screen to see how they play, but this is OK because they add those little background details that are so often missing from movies. While some of the anecdotes are too lightweight, others work surprisingly well.
The gamine Laurier gives an engaging performance as Laurie, whose waif-like features belie an underlying strength of character that eventually wins over the blunt Lorenzo. Tavarone is also good, and the mismatched pair work surprisingly well together as their mutual enmity is gradually transformed into a warm friendship. His key reminiscence over the girl he let slip away has echoes of the ‘girl in the white dress’ story from Citizen Kane, but is a sweet tale that will touch a nerve with most people. The only major weak point of the film is the ending, which feels too rushed and unconvincing to evoke the emotional response it was obviously aiming for.
(Reviewed 19th November 2005)