Leon sets his revolution forth by asking, “Does school suck? Should it?” In this vein, do political comedies suck? The answer is, yes, more often than not, but fortunately, not this one. The Trotsky is part history, part autobiographical (the filmmaker’s life that is), and part funny fiction.
From Montreal filmmaker Jacob Tierney comes a tale of wit and longing. Young Leon, played in earnest by the talented Jay Baruchel (of recent apprentice fame), has from a young age, been convinced that he is indeed Trotsky reincarnated. On his adolescent bedroom wall he’s built an action plan: a bulletin board with to-dos such as “start a revolution” and “find a Lenin.” He even eagerly awaits his own assassination. To eke out his existence as Trotsky redux, Leon begins by first taking on his evil capitalist father’s business and moves on to unionizing his high school.
The film is very funny and charming, and surprisingly manages to valorize direct action activism, even duct-taping your principle and holding him hostage until negotiations resume (played in awesomely funny villain-ness by Colm Feore of Bon Cop, Bad Cop). The film connects youthful political ideals with action instead of ridiculing activism or reducing activists to two-dimensional stereotypes as so many other comedies (and so many fiction films in general) would have easily resorted to.
The Trotsky opens across canada on May 14.
Errata: the film is not available through Netflix, as we originally wrote. We regret the error.