Olivia lives in a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada along with her son, Thomas, a daughter, Sarah, and has been separated from her French-speaking husband, Jean Marc. She has an estranged ... See full summary »
Olivia lives in a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada along with her son, Thomas, a daughter, Sarah, and has been separated from her French-speaking husband, Jean Marc. She has an estranged brother named Jack Walker who she has not seen for many years, as he refused to return her phone calls, and neglected to attend their father's funeral in Montana, U.S.A.. Due to opening of Cynaco and MacNeil Mining Company, the town expects to have about new 125 new jobs. One day she gets a surprise visit from Jack, both brother and sister update each other, and Jack also gets to meet Thomas and Sarah, as well as Olivia's attractive South Asian neighbor, Lia, a single mother. He soon starts an affair with her, and even moves in her house. What Olivia and Lia do not know that Jack has been labeled an Eco-Terrorist, is on the most wanted list of the FBI, his presence has a negative influence on Thomas, who will soon end up getting arrested, while Jack himself is busy collecting gas cans, and empty milk... Written by
I caught a screening of "A Stone's Throw" at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival where it played to a packed house. Polite but not very enthusiastic applause followed... which seemed sort of appropriate since the film comes across as just that - a polite, thoughtful piece that lacks enthusiasm. It has the potential to be an engaging enough story, but that's the problem. It doesn't rise to its potential. There's a mood to the piece that's somber, melancholic - emphasized by the brooding. ever-present score. (By the midway point I was longing for a scene that wasn't underscored by a cello playing in a minor key!) I can handle somber and melancholic as long as it doesn't dissolve into dull. Regrettably, that's what happens with "A Stone's Throw."
The story focuses on Jack Walker (Kristen Holden-Ried) an environmental-activist who returns home to a small, one-company town in rural Nova Scotia. Jack has just learned he's wanted by the authorities for torching the offices at a toxic gold mine - and when he discovers that the local company is using chemicals that are affecting the town's residents, well... drama ensues. It's not a bad story. It's just that the characters are not drawn with much dimension. For example, no one has a sense of humour. No one laughs - with the possible exception of Jack's love interest (played by Lisa Ray.) And given the fact that Jack has a near zero rating on the personality scale, it's a wonder she's even attracted to him. I kept wanting for Jack - or anyone for that matter - to break out of his quiet, brooding self and engage me, stoke my emotions, draw me into his world. We ARE asked to feel sorry for Jack because he has a genetic eye condition that's worsening by the day. But pity is a passive emotion that serves only to keep the audience at arm's length. The one real opportunity for us to side with Jack is when we learn he's being hunted by the police - well, hunted may be an exaggeration. The town's one cop occasionally drops by and asks if anyone has seen him. (I look for my car keys with more fervor!) So the opportunity to root for Jack as he eludes the police gets squandered. The fact that Jack's car ran into a deer and would need to be reported seems to have escaped the cops -- as well as, it seems, the screenwriter.
I'm not suggesting the film would work better as an action flick. Clearly it's not that type of movie. But infusing the proceedings with some life, some wit, some joie de vivre would go a long way toward transforming a competent story into a good movie.
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