8 items from 2015
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Well, it’s a different sort of damsel-in-distress flick, at least. It’s not very suspenseful or thrilling or exciting, and it’s entirely romantically inert, which is not what it intends, but hey, Patricia Clarkson (The Maze Runner) is as awesome as always. She is Helen, a doctor from Toronto who is spending some alone time at her remote lakeside cabin on an island reachable only by boat, still grieving for her husband (Callum Keith Rennie [Fifty Shades of Grey] in flashbacks) who died the year before. But there’s always a mysterious stranger! When William (Scott Speedman: The Vow) washes up on her solitary femaleness, bleeding from a gunshot wound, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Patricia Clarkson is one of those indispensable character actors that is too rarely delegated to leading lady status. However, she makes the most of a meandering script in a new film she headlines, October Gale, which also reunites her with Cairo Time director Ruba Nadda.
The actress plays Helen Matthews, a recently widowed woman in her fifties returning to the Ontario cottage she used to enjoy with her husband, James (played in flashback by Callum Keith Rennie). It’s hard for Helen to let go, especially when remnants of James are everywhere: in the picture frames on the wall, in the deck of cards she shuffles tenderly, in the year-old sports section of the newspaper left by the fireplace.
Helen could use something to pre-occupy her as she lounges around the cabin, tenderly coveting the things her husband used to own, and that distraction soon comes in the form of »
- Jordan Adler
Perfect Storm: Mystery Tinged Romance from Nadda Gets Blown Away in Gusts
There’s much to admire in Montreal-born director Ruba Nadda’s latest film, October Gale, which reunites her with the Patricia Clarkson, star of her generally well-received 2009 film, Cairo Time. Nadda once again provides Clarkson with a melancholy tinged lead role that provides us with a framework that recalls classic ‘women’s pictures’ of the studio era, something we’d most likely have seen from a Cukor or Negulesco and starring the embittered likes of a Joan Crawford or Barbara Stanwyck. Clarkson evokes a softer sentimentality than those references, which may explain why many will be dismayed when the film suddenly becomes a romance tinged mystery thriller, only one that doesn’t want to sacrifice any of these particular elements and therefore tends to seem watered down on all fronts.
A Toronto doctor still grieving over the tragic »
- Nicholas Bell
Ruba Nadda followed up her breakthrough film Cairo Time with thrillers for its two leads: Inescapable for Alexander Siddig, and now October Gale for Patricia Clarkson. Both rely on character-driven drama more than traditional action, exploring the intricacies of family relationships and the repercussions of loss. Dr. Helen Matthews (Clarkson) was accustomed to peaceful getaways with her husband, James, in the Hamptons of northern Ontario, a lake district that's long been a retreat for affluent Toronto residents. James died during an October gale on Lake Joseph, and Helen is still submerged in grief as she opens up their island cottage the following spring. Tidying the house triggers memories of James (Callum Keith Rennie), and Nadda uses these flashbacks to »
Director: Ruba Nadda
Run Time: 91 minutes
Synopsis: Whilst mourning the death of her husband on their island retreat, a widowed doctor is forced to treat a mysterious man who washes ashore during stormy weather with a gunshot wound.
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.
All this is 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 »
- Sacha Hall
Tiberius Film has acquired four films at the Efm.
The German independent distributor has picked up Thomas Cailley’s romantic comedy Love At First Fight (Les Combattants), which has just been nominated for nine César 2015 awards, and Ruba Nadda’s thriller October Gale which premiered at Toronto 2014 and stars Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman and Tim Roth.
Wolfgang Carl, managing director of Tiberius Film GmbH, commented: “The Efm is always a very good forum for us to discover exciting and promising movies. We are very excited that our acquisitions have begun so well this year. Our new films include a variety of highlights for all target groups »
- email@example.com (Ian Sandwell)
First hearing about October Gale last year, with the announcement of casting, hopes were high. With writer-director Ruba Nadda (Cairo Time) at the helm, steering performances from Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson (Pieces Of April), Academy Award nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy), and Genie Award nominee Scott Speedman (Adoration) – it had all the hallmarks of a taut thriller, with perhaps something of a twist on the tired home invasion schtick that persists in cinema. At the very least, it promised a dark drama, made by a woman, and led by a woman.
For those unfamiliar with the project, Patricia Clarkson plays Helen – a qualified doctor who is mourning her dead husband. She opts to spend some time alone at their isolated waterside cottage during a huge storm, but is disturbed when a man (Scott Speedman) washes ashore with a gunshot wound. Soon enough, his would-be assassins follow – led by Tim Roth. »
- Sarah Myles
Patricia Clarkson is one of the most talented and versatile American actresses working today, so it’s always a nice surprise to see her headlining a feature, even if said feature looks like a generic home invasion thriller. At least, that’s what the recently released trailer for “October Gale” makes it look like. Clarkson stars as Helen, a depressed woman who is working through the grief of losing her husband by cleaning out the remote cottage she shared with him. After a mysterious wounded man (Scott Speedman) crawls into her cottage, Helen is compelled to take care of him. When the man’s attackers, led by Tim Roth in full-on stoic creep mode that we know and love, find the cottage to finish the job, Helen has to defend her life by any means necessary. With “October Gale”, Canadian writer/director Ruba Nadda works with Clarkson again after the »
- Oktay Ege Kozak
8 items from 2015
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