Good Neighbours is the second collaboration between Montrealers Jay Baruchel and director Jacob Tierney, following up last year’s high school comedy The Trotsky. Baruchel says their connection began because “we are both rabid Habs fans and movie nerds” but solidified on set.
“I embarrass him when I say this but he’s probably the best director I have ever worked with,” Baruchel said. “I don’t mean to take anything away from the guys I’ve worked with but I’ve never seen such an uncommon combination of definitive vision, open mindedness and an ability to let others contribute. That’s the key and that’s why we made an awesome movie.”
Set in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood the movie mixes and matches Rear Window, Twin Peaks and, according to Baruchel, “a really uncomfortable sense of humour.”
Don’t expect the sunny Ferris Bueller optimism of The Trotsky. Good Neighbours involves three young Montrealers, the wheelchair bound Spencer (Scott Speedman), cat lover Louise (Emily Hampshire) and Victor, an earnest school teacher played by Baruchel. As their lives become entwined it becomes difficult for them — and the audience — to know who to trust. Good Neighbours also features a murder Baruchel calls “if not the goriest, then the most uncomfortable death scene in any movie this year.”
There’s that word again, uncomfortable.
“It will be polarizing,” says Baruchel, next seen in Goon, a hockey comedy he wrote and stars in, “but I think this movie really gets under your skin.”
It’s also the kind of movie that probably wouldn’t easily find funding in Hollywood.
“The main reason this would never get made stateside is that it leaves too much up to the audience,” says Baruchel. “The studios don’t like that. They like to kind of give you a road map and let you know when you are supposed to be sad or happy and who you are meant to root for. Some people will say that my character is so lovely and sympathetic and others think he’s really creepy. Your life will inform how you see our movie.”