BLACK EYED DOG (Pierre Gang). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (October 27). For venues and times, see Movies, page 115. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Small towns on film come in two versions: one where the locals' broken dreams litter the pavement, and the other where the diner down the street serves up the down-home charm of its quirky denizens as its daily special.
I prefer the latter. Sure, such films often lapse into clichés, but who wants to spend 91 minutes hanging out in Martyrville, here called Riverton, New Brunswick? Aspiring-singer-turned-restaurant-server Betty ( Sonya Salomaa ) and her abusive ex-boyfriend, Wayne ( David Boutin ), keep moaning, "This isn't how I imagined it."
Granted, Betty's got a right to sing the blues (if she ever decides to pick up her guitar again). Mom's nuts, Dad abandoned the family but shows up daily at her job, sister Carol ( Nadia Litz ) feigns loneliness yet ignores her son. Then there's Wayne's weak but well-meaning brother, David ( Brendan Fletcher ), who has his own problems.
It doesn't help that an escaped serial killer's terrorizing the town, nor does Betty's creepy love interest ( James Hyndman ) improve matters.
Salomaa's committed performance is the only thing that feels authentic here, though a surprise turn of events and reference to Sisyphus hint at the better film writer Jeremy John Bouchard and director Pierre Gang could have made. This one is so bleak, I was rooting for the killer.