I Love a Man in Uniform
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 99 min
TV cops are a breed apart. They not only get their man, they always do it with style, conviction, and a clever quip by the last freeze frame. In the TV universe, there’s nothing sexier than law enforcement. It’s this cocktail of seduction and threat that fuels director David Wellington’s stylish psychological thriller, I Love a Man in Uniform. Tom McCamus plays Henry Adler, a bank clerk with an assertiveness problem and an unsuccessful sideline as an actor. It turns out all he needed was the right role.
When he’s offered the part of a tough cop in a series called "Crimewave," Henry takes to the power and authority of his character, Flanagan, like a shark to water. He wears the uniform out in public just to get a feel for it. He starts talking in Flanagan’s clipped, remorseless prose. He becomes remorseless. Little by little, he takes on the easy brutality of his character, carrying his commitment way beyond method acting.
With a ferocity that hearkens back to Martin Scorsese’s lonely men (Travis Bickle and Rupert Pupkin), Henry gets confused. He develops an unhealthy identification with his television character and eventually loses his grip on reality as his own identity is overwhelmed by his alter-ego. Henry’s attempts to strike up a romance with his co-star, Charlie (Brigitte Bako), are also founded on this same confusion. It’s only when he runs into the real thing – a truly vicious, corrupt policeman, wonderfully played by veteran Kevin Tighe – that he’s forced to confront the consequences of his actions.
McCamus’s eerie performance makes watching Henry’s degeneration into a power-hungry, corrupt cop creepy fun. Alternating the tone between dark, cynical humor and a grim parable of madness, Wellington gives the story both the edge and the wit it demands, showing up the dark allure of TV fiction and skilfully propelling the film toward its bracing conclusion.
The film was released to positive reviews in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, although it was not a big box-office draw. McCamus and Tighe both won Genie Awards for their performances.
With music by The Tragically Hip.