October Gale is a Canadian film that was shot in Georgian Bay, Ontario right in the heart of cottage country. It’s a film that is beautiful to look at, but after that there really isn’t anything else that is enduring about it.
Director Ruba Nadda, who brought us the 2009’s critically acclaimed film Cairo Time, tries to put together a very character driven suspense story that is high on dialogue and low on suspense.
The story is about a Toronto doctor named Helen Mathews (Patricia Clarkson) who is grieving the loss of her husband (Callum Keith Rennie).
Dr. Mathews decides to visit her cottage in Georgian Bay. While she tries to put the death of her husband behind her in the picturesque setting, a wounded young man named Will (Scott Speedman) washes ashore and interrupts her solace.
After seeing that Will had been shot in the shoulder, Helen nurses him back to health and learns a bit more about the mysterious gentleman. After some flirty conversations, Helen finds herself becoming attracted or sexually enamored to the young stranger. However, someone named Tom, (Tim Roth) who was the one who wounded Will, shows up looking to finish the job.
Apart from the beautiful acting by Patricia Clarkson, the story moves at a snail’s pace. I’m all fine with character driven stories where things build slowly to a crescendo or pay off, but the overall narrative just bored me to sleep.
The film is supposed to be a suspenseful thriller, but by the time there was anything remotely looking like suspense or thrill, I checked out of the story and didn’t care what happened to the characters.
The first act had me interested because I thought Clarkson’s subtleties to the role eased me into the main character’s life and you could see that her world had been completely turn upside down by the loss of her husband. Even the flashbacks or memories were shot beautifully.
However, as the film continued on in a very slow and plodding manner it became apparent that each minute onwards was an investment that would see no return.
The story also comes off as a bit cliche. Here are these strangers in a cottage during a dark and stormy night, nothing could happen right?
This film had potential and there is nothing wrong with building things up slowly but it just seemed to get all muddled up in the second act where I kept looking at how much time was left before I had to write this review.
Scott Speedman, who most of you will remember from the 90s TV Teen Drama Felicity or the Underworld movie franchise, also does a solid job with his role. The Canadian hunky actor is more than a pretty face and he does have some depth. That’s the thing, the acting was fine and that’s why it’s a shame that the story was such a let down.
October Gale is boring. Plain and simple. There really isn’t much more that can be said about it. Unfortunately I give this one 1.5 out of 5 rain drops.