Suspect number one: a thriller of a redoubtable efficiency

Suspect numéro un: un thriller d’une redoutable efficacité

The filmmaker Daniel Roby has found a good lead and looking at the fantastic story of the ex-addict Alain Olivier, who was jailed by mistake in Thailand in the late 1980s after having been at the centre of an RCMP investigation that has gone wrong. Drawing on this experience for his new film Suspect number one, the film maker manages to make a thriller thrilling that has nothing to envy the american productions of the kind.

The film follows the journey of Daniel Light (a character inspired by Alain Olivier), a young ex-junkie quebecers who finds himself involved in a major drug deal after being trapped and handled by RCMP officers in search of performance.

The case turns sour and Light (played by Antoine Olivier Pilon) is arrested and imprisoned in Thailand. Found this story fishy because Daniel Light has not the profile of a kingpin of the drug, the reporter toronto-Victor Malarek (Josh Hartnett) decides to go to Thailand to investigate this case, at the risk of putting his life and that of his family in danger.

Daniel Roby (Louis Cyr, Funkytown, In the mist) has worked for a dozen years on this thriller ambitious, which fits in with the lineage of films for the investigation, the Spotlight and Zodiac.

But the game was worth the candle. Well-researched and conducted a master hand by Roby, Suspect number one (Target Number One, in the original English) proves to be one hell of a good action film that entertains while addressing serious subjects and important issues, such as the importance of investigative journalism.


Daniel Roby and his team have done a good job to maximize the budget that was available to them (approximately$ 7 Million). The reconstruction of the era is impeccable, and the fact to be shot entirely in natural lighting gives the film a visual style that is both realistic and retro.

Small downside : some of the characters, including those of the agents of the RCMP, missing a few shades and the mistakes they make are sometimes too big for what we believe in. Roby, however, has had the happy hand in the choice of its players. In a first role in English, Antoine Olivier Pilon delivers a performance that is intense and very physical, offering even a few scenes of fights muscular in a prison in thailand. The american actor Josh Hartnett was known as to bring him a good dose of charisma and rebellious energy to the character of Victor Malarek. First great quebecois film to make the display since the reopening of the cinemas, Suspect number one has the qualities to attract a wide audience. It remains to be seen if the viewers will want to go back to the theaters in large number in this was not like the others…

Suspect number one ★★★★☆

  • A film by Daniel Roby
  • With Antoine Olivier Pilon, Josh Hartnett and Rose-Marie Perreault
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