Film review: Target Number One is a formidable feat of Canadian filmmaking

The very first film to release theatrically in the HRM post-COVID lockdown is one hell of a welcome back for aficionados

The very first film to release theatrically in Halifax Regional Municipality post-COVID lockdown is one hell of a welcome back for aficionados.

Three-arc story Target Number One follows a heroin addict jailed in a Thai prison after a bogus FBI bust, the brash investigative journalist covering his story, and the police investigation that got him there in the first place.

The interweaving narrative and interconnected stories may be lofty, but the way they pull together is nothing short of remarkable. Writer-director Daniel Roby takes this true story and breathes life into it. He’s masterful at his craft here.

Josh Hartnett stuns as reporter Victor Malarek, ensuring he completely sheds his former teen heartthrob image to turn in a layered, affecting performance as a devil-may-care, fearless investigator willing to fight for the truth. Similarly, Mommy star Antoine Olivier Pilon gives a convincing, sympathetic portrayal of a man in an endlessly precarious situation as the jailed heroin addict.

The final of the three-pronged main characters is that of the grizzled, battle-weary FBI agent played by Stephen McHattie, who is tremendous here. One truly scary transformation, though, comes from comedian Jim Gaffigan, who transforms into a slimy, dangerous drug dealer. One wonders where he’s been hiding all this dramatic heft this whole time.

I searched for inconsistencies or plot holes. I just have to say that for a film I knew nothing about before last week, Target Number One is a shining example of the type of wholeheartedly impressive entertainment you can find if you look a bit beyond your regular blockbusters.

As of July 24, 2020, Target Number One is playing at Cineplex Dartmouth Crossing and is now playing in many other major cities nationwide. This film is worth every penny.

Jordan Parker is a PR professional and journalist in Halifax, and these reviews appear first on his film blog Parker & the Picture Shows.