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OCTOBER GALE (review)

october_galeOCTOBER GALE

Written and Directed by Ruba Nadda / Starring Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman & Tim Roth

William: Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.

Canadian filmmaker Ruba Nadda (INESCAPABLE) has reunited with her CAIRO TIME leading lady, Patricia Clarkson (SHUTTER ISLAND), for her latest effort, OCTOBER GALE. This time around, Clarkson plays Helen, a grieving widow who heads up to the cottage she once shared with her late husband to begin the unenviable task of sorting through his things. Located on a remote island, she is, for all intents and purposes, completely isolated and left to her own devices to weather an incoming storm. Until, that is, she hears a noise late one night and heads out to investigate. Finding a trail of blood, she goes back inside to discover a young man (Speedman) writhing on her floor, suffering from a recent gunshot wound.

Fortunately, Helen is a doctor and able to treat the man she later finds out to be “William” – but she is given no more details as to the events that led to his being shot and finding his way to her cabin. Trapped by the storm, the two begin to bond as they wait for William to heal, and for the man who’s pursuing him to show up so he can finish the job.

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Set in quiet Ontario cottage country on the serene Georgian Bay, OCTOBER GALE serves as a reminder of just how beautiful our landscape is. The film is certainly not lacking in any sort of visual appeal. But unfortunately, it is lacking in pretty much every other aspect.

The film’s most significant failure is that it can’t seem to decide what it is. Drama? Romance? Psychological thriller filled with mystery and intrigue? It stumbles half-heartedly from one genre to the next, hoping its audience can remain convinced and avidly along for the jostling ride. We can’t. The story, though not particularly fascinating, is admittedly well-intentioned and the cast is, of course, remarkable – particularly Clarkson, who generally is remarkable in whatever role she takes on. But the execution is shoddy, and any interest one may have had in either the story or its characters at the outset slowly fizzles from one scene to the next. And honestly, whatever chemistry is lurking between Helen and William, it is just not convincing in the least – not because of the age difference or any lack of ability on the part of the actors, but more likely from a simple want of character development.

On the plus side, it does make you long for cottage season.

2.5 sheep

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