I HATE TORONTO: A LOVE STORY (Daniel Wilson). Opens Friday (February 10) at the Toronto Underground Cinema. Rating: N
I Hate Toronto: A Love Story imagines it's a drama of considerable weight. It's not.
Daniel Wilson's fourth feature is, in a word, terrible. It's clumsily written, amateurishly shot, awkwardly acted and haphazardly edited, a reworking of Leaving Las Vegas that doesn't actually understand that film. It's a child's idea of tragedy, whose suicidal young hero (Al Miro) buries himself in empty sex over some deeply repressed trauma until he meets a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Amy Clare Lockwood) who might save him.
The romantic relationship isn't convincing, because neither character is defined well enough to be believable as a partner for the other. Wilson gives them the slightest of character traits - she's got allergies! He keeps a noose hanging in his bathroom because of that tragic secret! - without giving them personalities or lives. Miro and Lockwood can't turn these inconsistent sketches into living, breathing characters.
The soundtrack rights to music by Spirit of the West, the Band, Blue Rodeo, Matthew Good and Serena Ryder must have cost more than the actual production. But Wilson manages to screw that up, too, tracking songs in and out with no consideration for what they might be doing for the mood of a given scene.
Even the title is arbitrary: Miro's character hates nothing specific about Toronto except, perhaps, a certain section of the Don Valley Parkway. It could take place in any city and you still wouldn't give a shit.