Long Shot

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on May 06, 2019

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Dear Alexander Skarsgård

Dear Alexander,

When I say you’ve pulled off the most devastating portrayal of a Canadian on film ever, I know what I’m talking aboot.

I can live with cartoonish buffoonery and slapstick idiots. I’m all for taking the piss out of Maple Leafs fans or poking fun at cultural cliches. I can even handle blunt insults and lazy scapegoating.

But, even after my months-long research on the subject, I was not prepared for what you do in Long Shot. It’s subtle, cringe-inducing, and—worst of all—knowing. A comedic portrayal of the Canadian Prime Minister loaded with God-awful truth. Not only in a way that skewers Justin Trudeau as an individual, but, somehow, exposes the entire mix of smug superiority and crippling self-doubt that defines the very essence of the Canadian experience. All by self-consciously suspending one-quarter of your face muscles when you smile for a picture.

What the hell, man?

Don’t we have some sort of unwritten contract with the Swedes to preserve the Northern socialist-utopia alliance? Have we not done enough to coddle your Sundins and Sedins and Alfredssons and Karlssons (actually, scratch that last one)? If a war breaks out between our countries, you’d better believe this will be seen as the first shot. I just don’t know how we could ever retaliate. We may never recover from this. I feel so… naked. Seen in a way that undoes all the careful curation we’ve done to position ourselves as the safe and sensible solution to everything that ails America. Do you think they’ll notice? They’ll still like us, right?

Maybe I should blame Seth Rogen and his fellow Canadian ex-pat Evan Goldberg. They clearly know Canada more than I’d ever like to give them credit for. It probably doesn’t hurt that the film was also shot in Montreal, with a ton of Canadian talent both on screen and behind the camera. Still, for a film that’s main goal is to look at the American political system, it’s almost disheartening how effectively Long Shot disarms the Canadian charm offensive in just a few key scenes. It’s by far the best part of the film - which says a lot for something that stars the always amazing Charlize Theron, and the begrudgingly reliable Seth Rogen.

Nothing else made me react out loud in the same way (other than the film’s one gross-out sight-gag, maybe). The film certainly wasn’t as convincing as a romantic comedy as you were at playing a cloying politician. Bob Odenkrik does a commendable job lampooning the ego-centric Celebrity-in-Chief, but it’s not exactly cutting. Even Rogen’s self-righteous leftist reporter is eventually exposed as a hypocrite, but it’s an arc everyone can see coming. The surprise attack on Canadians is a pop culture TKO.

In the great NHL tradition though, I’ll line-up to give you and the crew a series-ending handshake. Well played. We’ll make a few moves before the draft and get you next year.



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