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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Movie Review - October Gale

October Gale (2015)
Starring Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman, and Tim Roth
Directed by Ruba Nadda
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Despite a nice performance from Patricia Clarkson as Helen, a recent widow returning to her family's Canadian cabin following her husband's death there a year ago, October Gale is a film that doesn't achieve what it sets out to do.  Director and writer Ruba Nadda previously paired with Clarkson on 2010's Cairo Time, a film I admired and placed in my Top Fifteen of 2010 in addition to giving Clarkson a Top Five berth in my Lead Actress category that year.  Nadda definitely has an eye for lensing and creating well-rounded female characters, but in October Gale she attempts to tack on a "thriller" aspect that disappoints immensely which is a shame because there's certainly promise in this filmmaker's work.

Upon arrival at her lakeside cabin, Helen begins to clear out many of the things left there by her husband after he was killed in a boating accident the prior October.  Now, almost exactly a year later, during the middle of another brewing thunderstorm, a young man named Will (Scott Speedman) arrives on her doorstep, barely able to walk and with a bullet in his shoulder.  After taking care of him, Will reveals that he has been in jail for killing a man whom he had known for decades and considered to be his brother during a bar fight that got out of hand.  That man's father (Tim Roth) whom he considered to be his father as well is now hunting Will down, displeased with the prison sentence Will received and hungry for revenge.

During the film's first act, I appreciated Nadda's display of simplicity, taking her time developing the character of Helen, but as soon as Scott Speedman's Will shows up, things start to take a turn for the worse.  Through no fault of Speedman or Clarkson -- who pair nicely together in their scenes -- October Gale simply fails to create tension or suspense.  By the time Will's secrets are revealed and Tim Roth comes into the picture, I'd already lost interest.  This is an unfortunate misfire, but Ruba Nadda still has goodwill built from her previous effort so I'm willing to give her another shot when her next feature rolls around.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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