Jimmy Reardon is the head of a small time family crime organization in Vancouver. He's got some legitimate and not so legitimate businesses, including a strip club, shipping company and several aspects of drug trafficking. Despite business being good, he is facing some problems including a junkie ex-wife with whom he shares joint custody of their daughter, a loose cannon of a brother, a major theft at one of his grow-ops which he suspects was orchestrated by his own employees, and the fact that he knows that he's being tailed but not knowing by who. The tail may be by the Organized Crime Unit (OCU) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who indeed do have him under surveillance. The Vancouver operation of the OCU is headed by Inspector Mary Spalding, who is being recruited by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). In addition to Mary coming on board, CSIS is wanting to co-opt her and the OCU's on-street intelligence network, and to build upon the network by recruiting at ...Written by
[on answering machine]
Leave your name and number at the beep. God bless.
Frankie, it's me. I'm calling again, cuz you haven't returned my call. So, I'm confirming again that I'll pick Stella up in the morning and take her to school. So, call me when you get this. OK? Bye.
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"Intelligence" involves what happens when a Vancouver dope smuggler, Jimmy Reardon (played by Ian Tracey in his first leading role in years), gets his hands on the files of informants for the local Organized Crime Unit. The OCU's chief, Mary Spalding (played by Klea Scott), is being headhunted by CSIS. She is anxious to recruit Reardon as a high-level informant while also wanting the files back with no harm done to any of the informants. But her scuzzy second in command, Ted Altman (played by Matt Frewer), is equally anxious to bring her down and save his own job after losing said files to a car thief. His underhanded methods lead to ugly things even as Reardon and Spalding forge a tentative alliance.
While it's no secret that this is a potential TV-movie pilot for CBC, the final product is a full-fledged feature film that makes recent British and American cinema thriller offerings look pathetic. The usual subtle Canadian acting and cynical writing pair up nicely with better-than-usual production values. Vancouver, as itself and not some other city, looks great.
Since this comes from Haddock Entertainment, a huge number of actors and actresses from Da Vinci's Inquest show up. My favorite was a cameo by Alex Diakun as one of Reardon's employees. Matt Frewer struggles a bit with his role, though, since Altman is unfortunately the weak link in the chain, one of Haddock's now just about patented paper-thin bad guys with no realistic motivation. This makes the cliff-hangerish ending more annoying than necessary.
Ian Tracey and Klea Scott, however, both finally get the roles that they deserve as leads and not back-ups to pretty people who can't act. Reardon and Spalding have a fascinating, almost Renaissance Italian, relationship--two great magnates who are inherently good, but are trapped in a dark world that worships ruthlessness. Both of them have underlings who constantly urge them to commit cold and vicious acts, just to show that they aren't "soft". Yet, it's the tough refusal of each one to sink to that lowest moral level that establishes an immediate common ground between them as soon as they meet.
I sincerely hope that the film's makers get their funding for a series, because there is a great deal here to explore. As the Canadians like to say, "It's all good."
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