HARD DRIVE (William D MacGillivray). See listings. Rating: NN
Hal Niedzviecki's novel Ditch, about a fraught teen romance, has energy and an experimental edge. So why is William D. MacGillivray's film adaptation a plodding, by-the-numbers drama that takes forever to pick up speed?
Ditch (Douglas Smith) lives with his single mom (Megan Follows), works at the city dump and nurses delusions about his absent dad. When he meets Debs (Laura Wiggins), an underage rebel with a mysterious cause, the two fall in love and decide to leave home.
The performances are fine. Smith smoulders with resentment, and Wiggins has all the right fucked-up energy. But unlike MacGillivray's Canadian classic Life Classes, which tracks a young woman's transformative connection to a local gallery, Hard Drive has zero character development, and the only significant plot device - what is Debs hiding? - goes to very predictable places.
The pic does gain some energy near the end in a scene with Debs's father, but only for a few seconds. And I can imagine that everyone involved in the movie was thrilled that veteran jazz drummer Jerry Granelli agreed to appear in a small role and to write the score. But that doesn't mean the soundtrack has to be quite so invasive.
There's lots of talent here, but the lack of execution is turning into a chronic problem for Canadian indie films.
Opens Friday (August 15) at the Royal. See listings.