Ill Fated (Mark A. Lewis). 96 minutes. Opens Friday (August 26). For venues and times, see Movies, page 98. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
When 18-year-old everyman Jimmy's long-lost father ( Peter Outerbridge ) returns to the town of Thithily in rural BC, he discovers that his son is entangled in a web of incest, murder and blind destiny.
Jimmy longs to escape to university, but his murderous stepfather, adulterous stepmother, pregnant girlfriend, eccentric commune-dwelling grandfather and slacker buddies are all conspiring to keep him where he is. Will Jimmy break free, or does he owe it to Thithily to stick around?
This film isn't bad; the plot is carefully constructed and sinuous enough to keep you guessing. The whole production suffers vaguely from a made-for-TV sensibility, attributable partly to the intrusive score, partly to an intermittent insistence on long shots of picturesque Rocky Mountain scenery and partly to the uneven performances (Granddad might have been plucked from a pool of eccentric old extras from Avonlea).
That said, Nicki Clyne is fetching as the girlfriend, and Outerbridge hits exactly the right note of sleazy, rabbity pathos as the feckless dad. At its best, this is a thoughtful, dark and occasionally funny film, although it's not really the comedy the sprightly pizzicato in the background prompts you to think it is.
Of course, it would be even better if it didn't lazily base its resolution on the death of an inconveniently situated girl; but hey, you could say that about a lot of art.