Connor Jessup (centre) doesn’t quite take wing in Blackbird.
BLACKBIRD (Jason Buxton). 106 minutes. Opens Friday (May 10). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
With the mass shootings of late, Blackbird couldn't be more timely. But while writer/director Jason Buxton's debut deals with hot topics like bullying and public hysteria, Blackbird adds little to the discussion.
Connor Jessup (a fine actor who looks like Justin Bieber's emo twin) plays Sean, a social outcast in a small town who isn't keen on keeping a low profile even if his goth style and brooding emotions make him an easy target for bullies. The sensitively handled high school scenes feel remarkably authentic thanks to a young cast who were probably in high school when the film was made.
Blackbird goes off the rails after Sean posts a Columbine-like threat online and ends up the target of further torment.
Buxton seems to enter foreign territory when Sean has to navigate the justice system. As the plot weaves aimlessly between developments (parole, reintegration and yet another violation), the characters become less convincing.
Though I appreciate Buxton's rookie attempt to present an alternative look at teen rage, I can't help seeing that this overreaching film goes nowhere with only clichés to guide it.