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Movie review: The Assassination of Toronto by the Coward Rob Ford

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Starring: Rob Ford

Directed by: Rob Ford

Rating: 0 (out of 4)

Will he or won't he?

This question remains unanswered at the end of The Assassination of Toronto by the Coward Rob Ford, a film about Toronto City Councillor, Rob Ford.

Ford has promised that the conclusion to the film, revealing whether Ford will make an official bid for mayor, will be presented to the "thousands" expected to attend the March 26th premiere.

The Assassination of Toronto by the Coward Rob Ford is largely a solo performance, played with exuberance by the title character.

Ford, a hybrid of Moose from the Archie comics and the right-wing loon (right-wing lunacy is a recurring theme in this film) Glenn Beck, often appears on screen, ruddy-faced, sweating, using his considerable frame to bully and intimidate.

The director, also Rob Ford, keeps most of the supporting cast off-screen in an effort to make the film about Ford and Ford only. There are hints of a long-suffering spouse. While we never see her, we sometimes sense her fear.

Very little is revealed about Ford's life before politics. One can imagine he was that neighbor who spent every Saturday scrubbing down his Hummer, clad in sandals, shorts and a sleeveless plaid shirt (a good ole boy uniform also worn in winter), then relaxing with a case of Blue. As he becomes more inebriated, his mood swings between "I love you man" bear hugs and rants about immigrants and the poor.

Indeed, Ford almost confirms this sketch of a redneck when we see him drunk at a hockey game hurling profanities at a frightened couple. His temper goes over the top when he's dragged out of the Air Canada Centre by security; it's a performance that makes any "hoo-haw" raging by Al Pacino look stoic.

We are given a glimpse into Ford's predilection for falsehoods to save his hide when we see him vehemently deny being at the hockey game, and then recant when he realizes the jig is up. In one of the movie's more mawkish scenes, Ford sobs his way through an apology: "I...talked to my family...I'm not perfect...I made a mistake...I made a major mistake."

As Ford attempts to increase his appeal to the "common man" (while isolating himself from everyone on City Council, fellow right-wingers included), he alienates many. Witness one scene in which Ford calls a fellow councillor a "waste of skin". Or a colleague of Italian descent, "Gino Boy".

One risible moment, reminiscent of knuckle-dragging "comedian" Andrew Dice Clay, has Ford lamenting lazy white people by offering up an insidious stereotype: "Those Oriental people work like dogs ... they sleep beside their machines. The Oriental people, they're slowly taking over ... they're hard, hard workers."

That Ford thought he was paying anyone a compliment, especially when using an out-dated and objectionable term such as "Oriental", further helps to portray Ford as the throwback goon we are beginning to suspect he is.

The assassination of Toronto starts later in the film. We are given glimpses of a penny-pinching Ford who seems to loathe government has much as he despises taxation.

Extolling "me-first, screw-you" conservatism, privatizing any and all public services clearly excites Ford and privatization serves as a recurring motif throughout the film. He seems to relish any policy that turns Toronto into a corporate plutocracy, while lulling the working class, the ones who would be most savaged by his policies, into thinking he's a man of the people.

The film is a failure, devoid of any ideas about how to make Toronto great. Rather, it's about the things Ford won't do. Ford chews up the scenery with harsh declarations, exuding rage and fury, and devoid of compassion. His drunken outbursts and racial insults only adding to what hopes will be the pyre of Ford's mayoral run.

He's an unlikable character and after watching him for 90 minutes in The Assassination of Toronto by the Coward Rob Ford, you want to flee the theatre in fear and loathing, worried about your city and about the people who keep sending this oaf to city hall.

If on March 26th we are offered an ending that has Ford entering the mayoral race, it will be a race worth watching, if only for what it says about this city. With exception of Joe Pantalone, candidates for mayor of Toronto are on a spectrum best defined as centre-right, fairly-right, ultra-right, extreme right, and moonbat-right.

There's only one thing worth taking from this terrible and dispiriting film: the assassination of Toronto is well underway.

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