Lawrence & Holloman

(Canada, 2013, 88 mins, DCP)
CAST Ben Cotton, Daniel Arnold, Katharine Isabelle, Amy Matysio
Classification: 19+
Filmmakers in attendance on opening night.
Supported by First Weekend Club.


Some guys have all the luck. Lawrence (Ben Cotton) is a salesman with few morals, no brains and a perpetual smile. As we first meet him he’s standing in an elevator, crowing with joy about his success on a department store sales floor. Behind him is Holloman (Daniel Arnold), a man considerably less than content with his life. He’s just chickened out of a suicide attempt—likely not for the first time—and, in the man before him, he sees everything he hates and envies. The two form a relationship that grows ever more twisted. Holloman has nothing to lose and Lawrence is a man who can lose everything and still face the world with an ear-to-ear grin.

If this sounds grim, don’t worry: it’s a comedy, albeit a very dark one. For all the outlandishness—and things do get pretty crazy—what we see rings scarily true to contemporary reality. Matthew Kowalchuk’s film—adapted from Morris Panych’s play—works on many levels: as wacky sketch comedy, as absurdist fable and, most pungently, as a satire on the modern rat race. Lawrence is the perfect citizen for a First World capitalist country: he’s hardworking, stupid, and oblivious to misfortune—including his own, when it comes. Ignorance is, indeed, bliss.

“Dark, twisted, and really very funny ... a multi-dimensional screamer. One of the events top flicks.”—The Province