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||IMDB Rating: 5.1/10 from votes
||Release: 11 September 2014 (Canada) /
||Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller
||Stars: Aidan Devine, Billy MacLellan, Callum Keith Rennie, Dani Kind, Eric Murdoch, Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman, Tim Roth
||Synopsis: A doctor takes in a mysterious man who washes ashore at her remote cottage with a gunshot wound. Quickly they both learn the killer has arrived to finish the job, while a storm has cut them off from the mainland.
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Premiering during a special presentation at the Toronto International
Film Festival (TIFF), October GALE is a dramatic thriller that's too
devoid of tension to be considered thrilling and far short of emotional
and relatable characters to be considered dramatic.
It's a shame because the opening sequence of sweeping Parry Sound long
shots and Steadicam shots of Helen (Patricia Clarkson) opening and
cleaning the family's vacation cottage offered a promising segue into
what appears to be (on the surface), a study in normative bereavement
with a murderous twist. Likewise, the film's setting is a beautiful
contradiction of comfortable isolation that quickly dissipates as the
story's nonsensical and improbable choices become too incredulous to be
Grieving the loss of her husband (played in silent flashbacks by Callum
Keith Rennie) in a wild storm the previous year, Toronto doctor Helen
Matthews (Clarkson) decides to return to her family's isolated cottage
in an effort to move on. After single-handedly opening up the warm and
comforting home in Georgian Bay, Helen begins the arduous task of
sifting through and removing some of the mementos accumulated during
their 32-year marriage.
The visual and aural planes of this transition from acceptance to
perseverance are well crafted; the non-diegetic musical score gives way
to diegetic empathetic sounds of the bay that feel crisp and renewing.
Fortuitously so considering Helen shortly thereafter comes face-to-face
with an unexpected and mysterious gentleman (Scott Speedman) crawling
and bleeding on her floor with a gunshot wound. After treating his
wound and grabbing her rifle, Helen waits for the stranger to wake up
and when he does, Will is vague about the attack and about his life
thus far until local handyman Al (Aidan Devine) decides to pay Helen an
unexpected visit. Will relents and reveals that he had spent time in
prison for manslaughter after a bar-fight and that the guy's father 'is
not going to stop until he's killed me'.
As the storm gains momentum outside, Helen agrees (stupidly I might
add) to allow Will to stay in her home as they lazily prepare
themselves for Al and the gunman to return. The script here is utter
wish-wash: writer/director Ruba Nadda (INESCAPABLE) fails to build any
suspense and tension for the ensuing action causing it to fall flat, it
fails to explain how Helen's appears to be a survivalist doctor who's
also a crack shot, nor the circumstances of Will's incarceration and
Helen's inconceivable trust in a man she just met.
Clarkson and Speedman should however, be applauded for their
performances: extracting every nuance they could from their
two-dimensional characters to at least be creditable. Overall, if 'it's
OK' are the only two words I can come up with after 91 minutes, it's
probably safe to say you might want to wait to watch it on video.
You can catch me on my handle @TheSachaHall or at The Hollywood News.
Tags for October Gale Full Movie
, Billy MacLellan
, Callum Keith Rennie
, Dani Kind
, Eric Murdoch
, Patricia Clarkson
, Scott Speedman
, Tim Roth
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