Brault's film not only doesn't provide answers to the political questions it throws up in its reconstruction of the effects of Canada's 1970 War Measures Act, it scarcely even seems aware of the true questions. Brault's sifting of the case histories of 450 Quebec citizens, arrested and detained without charge under virtual martial law which arose from two political kidnappings, is absorbing enough as 'Kafkaesque' dramatic reconstruction. And the persecution of five of them invites all of the expected audience empathy. But ultimately the film merely becomes a prolonged liberal wank over the summary loss of civil liberties, when it should be getting at the question of how this state of authoritarian paranoia became possible in a supposedly democratic society.
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