Norburg | A real suspense ★★★½

Although the Norbourg affair has left an indelible mark on Quebec’s collective unconscious, it nonetheless remains a story that, save for those in the business community, borrows somewhat vague contours from memory. Of course, the images of Vincent Lacroix are still fresh in our minds. But aside from the vision of this tie-wearing bandit walking miserably out of the courthouse after being convicted of ruining the lives of hundreds of investors, what exactly remains?

Posted yesterday at 8:30am

Marc Andre Lussier

Marc Andre Lussier
The press

Screenwriter Simon Lavoie and filmmaker Maxime Giroux ask themselves this question in their feature film, inspired by true events. By delving into the history of the biggest financial scandal Québec has ever seen, the two creators first do a duty of memory, but they also conjure up—and question—the state of mind of a company whose stocks changed rapidly to match performance and economic growth targets at all costs. With the danger of skidding they cause on the go. At the center of this story are two people for whom the lure of easy money acts like a hard drug.

There is, of course, Lacroix, to whom François Arnaud lends a poisonous charm. But also, and this is where the craftsmen come in Norburg favor an interesting narrative axis, Éric Asselin (excellent Vincent-Guillaume Otis). Unknown to the public, never convicted by the courts, he is the one who, using the knowledge he acquired as an investigator for the Securities Commission (now the Autorité des Marchés Financiers), pulled the strings to enable his new boss to he became the right arm to fraudulently extract profits from unfortunate investors.


Vincent-Guillaume Otis and François Arnaud in NorburgFilm written by Simon Lavoie and directed by Maxime Giroux

A real tension

Viewers who know little or care little about the world of finance will sometimes struggle to understand the complexities of the mechanisms employed by scammers, which absolutely must be explained, but the craftsmen of this film will, on the other hand, have the intelligence had to build their story as real suspense.

For beyond a story that will surely serve as a warning to those inclined to blindly entrust their life savings to smooth talkers, Norburg is primarily a feature film.

The staging by Maxime Giroux, a filmmaker inspired by works such as Felix and Meira and The Great Darkness, who dared to make a feature film for a broader audience for the first time, put himself entirely at the service of the story. And proves to be extremely effective. Thanks to the precise editing, the images (signed by Sara Mishara) that express the coldness of these places where financial problems are brewing and a musical score (composed by Philippe Brault) that, without insisting too much, leads to the heavy and terrifying character From this story, the filmmaker delivers a financial thriller the likes of which has never been seen in Quebec.

In addition to the solid performances of the two main actors, Christine Beaulieu also plays an important role. The actress is once again impeccable in the role of a Securities Commission agent who wants to find evidence of the shady dealings of the crook duo.

Perhaps the biggest thrill of this film comes at the very end, however, when we realize that investors large and small are still just as vulnerable almost two decades later.

In the running for six Iris trophies at the next Gala Québec Cinéma, Norburg is currently showing.





Maxim Giroux

With Francois Arnaud, Vincent-Guillaume Otis, Christine Beaulieu



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