**** (out of 5)
Noël Mitrani’s odd little movie On the Trail of Igor Rizzi made a lot of friends at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, when it played under its original French title, Sur La Trace d’Igor Rizzi; tonight, it begins a week’s run at the Royal Cinema, and it’s likely to make a lot more.
On The Trail Of Igor Rizzi stars the French actor Laurent Lucas as the mopey Jean-Marc, a washed-up French soccer star now living in Montreal. Mourning a dead girlfriend, he’s taken up residence in her home town, the better to stay connected to her memory.
Unfortunately, he’s also broke, so he’s drifted into a life of petty crime. But then, his luck turns: A man offers him $15,000 to kill some guy named Igor Rizzi.
And, despite having absolutely no idea how to kill people, he accepts.
What happens after that is best left unspoiled, so I’ll leave it at this: — On The Trail Of Igor Rizzi is a striking little film, one that works both as bone-dry comedy and as a moving study of profound grief, and Lucas’ performance manages to incorporate both tones at once.
By Norman Wilner