TIFF review: Black Conflux

Nicole Dorsey's Newfoundland-set debut feature is full of menace

BLACK CONFLUX DISC D: Nicole Dorsey. Canada. 100 min. Sep 6, 6:15 pm, Scotiabank 3 Sep 8, 5:45 pm, Scotiabank 11 Sep 14, 11:30 am, Scotiabank 10. Rating: NNNN

In a small Newfoundland town in 1987, where teenage Jackie (Ella Ballentine) is testing her limits with drinking and dating… and twentysomething Dennis (Ryan McDonald) is slowly giving himself over to an uncontrollable, deeply misogynist rage.

In her first feature, writer/director Dorsey places us in a world seething with menace: bars, bedrooms and even the brewery where Dennis works are depicted as lonely, tense spaces where bad things can just sort of happen.

And while Black Conflux functions primarily as a character study (with excellent work from the leads, and strong support provided by Olivia Scriven and Sofia Banzhaf), it’s also about showing us the environment that shapes those characters – and the odds against their ever escaping it.

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