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Film / PMO

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P.M.O. is a 2008 Canadian short film written and directed by Daryl Cloran, adapted from the opening scene of the play Generous by Michael Healey.

The minority government of Prime Minister Marc Brancois (Peter Keleghan) is in deep trouble. The budget of unpopular Minister of Finance David Bencaster (Patrick McKenna) has been defeated in the Commons, and they now face a vote of no confidence which, thanks to the ineptitude of Party Whip Tommy Langvoolin (C. David Johnson), they are poised to lose by a single vote, with even further losses ahead in the election they would be forced to call. As the various Cabinet members argue amongst themselves, senior minister Eric Poole (Dan Lett) leafs through a list of MPs who would support the government and reveals that none of them can get to Ottawa in time for the vote, while Peter Tucker (David Storch) makes it clear he is happily abandoning the sinking ship that is Marc's government. However, junior minister Cathy Freeman (Melody Johnson) enters and reveals that she may have just solved their problem in an unexpected way...

This film contains examples of:

  • Butt-Monkey: It quickly becomes evident that no-one in Marc's government likes or respects David. When Marc tries to call Ellen, an opposition MP who would support the government in a confidence motion, Tommy admits that he told Ellen that Marc would make her Minister of Finance (which is news to David), and after Cathy announces her unorthodox solution to the government's crisis situation, Eric promises to make her Minister of Finance, and Marc agrees (to David's chagrin).
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Marc spends most of the first half of the film speaking in these, especially as he berates Tommy for not working to ensure the government had enough support in the Commons to pass the budget or fend off a vote of no confidence. He repeatedly calls him a "fuckwit" and snarls "You are fuckin' fired!" both when Tommy tries to claim that the count in the budget vote is wrong and when Eric blames Tommy for the absence of their allies in other parties.
  • Cooldown Hug: When Marc and his cabinet seem unconcerned about the fact that Cathy has just murdered an opposition MP, David panics and shrieks, "I don't want any part of this!" He runs for the door, but Eric wraps his arms around him until he calms down.
  • Downer Ending: Eric points out that Brenda's murder means the confidence motion will end in a tie, allowing the government to continue, and Marc begins pleading with Peter to re-consider his decision to turn his back on them... just as Cathy finishes bleeding to death and slumps lifelessly to the floor. Marc's government once again faces defeat in the confidence motion, and the scandal that is sure to surround Brenda's murder means that their collective careers in politics are likely over.
  • No Party Given: The party represented by Marc and his cabinet is not specified; we know only that they are not the New Democratic Party, as the MP murdered by Cathy is an NDP from Moncton, New Brunswick.
  • Only Sane Man: When Cathy shows up in Marc's office bleeding profusely from the knife wound she received when stabbing Brenda, Peter is the only one who shows any concern for her welfare, and urges someone to call an ambulance. When he tries to do so himself, Eric slaps his phone out of his hand.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: When Marc asks Cathy why she killed Brenda, she reminds him that he told her "somebody should stab her in the neck." Marc insists that it's "just something you say", although Tommy reveals that Marc said something similar to him and even gave him his knife.
  • Roman à Clef: The plot thread of a Prime Minister grumbling that someone should murder one of his opponents in the Commons is based on a (possibly apocryphal) story that Brian Mulroney (Canadian PM from 1984-93) once muttered threats about slitting the throat of a member of his Cabinet.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: With the government facing defeat in the confidence motion, Peter leaves a voicemail on his friend Steve's phone declaring that he's finished with public service, declaring it "for arsewipes".
  • Side Bet: As Marc tries to call Ellen, a supportive opposition MP (who turns out to be halfway across the country in Victoria, British Columbia), Peter calls his friend Steve, with whom he made a $10 bet that the government would lose the budget vote.