Hey, remember Rob Ford? Toronto’s crack-smoking, patois-speaking, gang-connected former mayor whose batshit crazy, international headline-grabbing ride felt sort of like a low-budget, over-the-top grindhouse thriller? Well, now there’s an actual low-budget, over-the-top grindhouse thriller about him.
The movie poster for Filth City shows a robust, porcine politician who looks an awful lot like the late Rompin’ Robbie, smoking a pipe under a banner that reads: “The crime rate is high. So is the mayor.”
Based loosely on Ford’s crack scandal, the film is set to close out this year’s Canadian Film Fest on March 25. It was directed by Andy King and stars Pat Thornton as Tom Hogg, the drug-addicted mayor of the fictional city of York. Hogg is in the midst of a re-election campaign when a video leaks of him smoking crack. He’ll do “almost anything” to keep the footage out of the wrong hands. It looks something like Hobo with a Shotgun meets Super Troopers — and, if we’re being honest, that’s being generous.
Rob’s brother, former Toronto councillor Doug Ford, recently made headlines for openly criticizing the movie, thereby giving it the best publicity push possible. “There’s always scumbags out there that are going to do this and try to profit off anything they can,” he said, like a true guy who would never, ever try to profit off his late brother’s life.
To be fair, the movie’s premiere date is maybe a touch insensitive, given that it’s a mere three days after Ford’s one-year death anniversary. And the film does take some wee liberties: the trailer shows people being shot dead at City Hall, and Hogg firing a machine gun Tony Montana style.
But look. Now that Ford is a deceased legend, his image is susceptible to being exploited, simplified, and souvenier-ified, just like Biggie, Bob Marley, and Jimi Hendrix before him. Pop remembrance has a tendency to sand the edges off of complex people. That’s just the way she goes. Consumer culture recalls Ford as being a tragic, Icarus-esque figure who went out in a blaze of drug-fuelled glory. But the 6ix — or better yet, Rexdale — will forever remember the guy for who he truly was at the core: a sick motherfucker, dude.
Besides, Filth City was financed by the Canadian Media Fund. That’s good taxpayer money, well spent. We know Ford would have loved that.