THE HAMSTER CAGE (Larry Kent). 88 minutes. Opens Friday (December 1) at the Carlton. For times, see page 114. Rating: N Rating: N
Back before there was an English Canadian film industry, Larry Kent was a chronicler of the Canadian outsider in films like The Bitter Ash and Sweet Substitute. He directed nine features between 1963 and 1973 and four films since then. The Hamster Cage is his first since 92.
When the grown children of a distinguished academic family return home, painful memories surface quickly. It's a sub-Eugene O'Neill tale of long-buried family secrets that plays like a curdled sitcom. Kent's never had a flair for comedy and hasn't suddenly developed it here.
The Hamster's Cage might have worked had the actors been other than Alan Scarfe as a physicist soon to win the Nobel Prize and Scott Hylands as his pedophile brother. These veteran actors carry the taint of every bad tax shelter film they've appeared in. Vancouver actress Carly Pope, of the WB series Popular, is the bright spot in the cast, but she really needs a better agent - of the five pictures she made in 2005, this is the second to get released.