Colin Low II

film 3 of 6

Two Cabinet Ministers

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 21, 2015

This is as uncinematic as a film can be. Two guys sit there talking, until they stop. When you listen to what they’re saying, though, or to how they’re saying it, a thought comes to mind. Could this kind of thing be film’s best destiny? It’s a little bit like Michel Brault’s epochal Éloge de Chiac (q.v.). The audience stops talking long enough to listen for a second, and at the end it sits rather stunned. Maybe this should be the end of all our interactions, that we come to Moses’ realization, to the thing we would never have supposed. There’s more to this life than ourselves! Is the industrial film related to that best cinematic destiny like the political soundbite corresponds to the proper exercise of power, or the real performance of civic duty? Script and craft take us away from the irreducible here-and-now of ethical coexistence. Soundbites and brinksmanship obscure and inhibit that Aristotelian/Nicomachean objective, which is that the objective and best destiny of politics is to pursue the most good, for the most people.

That’s what Jones and Crosby, the two eponymous provincial cabinet ministers, seem to be doing here. They aren’t on the stump. They’ve studied and worked, they know some things, and they want to serve. The citizens have to learn and serve and do their part too. (What a great illustration of the simple necessity of taxes!) Crosby talks with wry good humour about some of the strident squeaky wheels with which he’s had to deal. But that doesn’t apply here. These local people don’t have to incorporate or form a special group to be worthy of governmental attention. They’re citizens of Newfoundland! (It’s not that simple, is it?)

After driving around Fogo everyone lights some cigarettes and describe some problems, step back and generalize a bit, bat around a couple of solutions. At the end—a pretty funny one, too—they discover that they had better go talk and listen some more. All these communicants are like the people to whom Peter is preaching in Acts 15. Does the gospel really help us around the council table? If it makes us civil, it does. For the rest we’d better go outside, where it’s all going to be up to us.