July 1, 2017

Nobody Waved Good-bye.

Review #959: Nobody Waved Good-bye.

Peter Kastner (Peter), Julie Biggs (Julie), Claude Rae (Father), Toby Tarnow (Sister), Charmion King (Mother), Ron Taylor (Boy friend), Bob Hill (Patrolman), Jack Beer (Sergeant), Sean Sullivan (Probation Officer), Lynne Gorman (Julie's mother), Ivor Barry (Interviewer), Sharon Bonin (Waitress), Norman Ettlinger (Landlord), and John Vernon (Lot Supervisor) Directed by Don Owen.

Today, July 1, 2017, is the Sesquicentennial (150th) of Canada. Over the past few years, I have covered Canadian films over the years (#406: Whispering City, #407: Why Shoot the Teacher?, #408: Goin' Down the Road, #409: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, #588: All Is Lost, #607: Back to God's Country, #608: Tomorrow Never Comes, #679: Black Christmas, #722: The Changeling, #815: Starship Invasions, #816: Crimes of the Future), with nine of them being on Canada Day itself since 2013, with this being the fifth year for me doing this. As such, I figured it made perfect sense to continue the Canada Day Feature tradition once again, in honor of the neighbors from the north. 

I picked this movie because of interesting it sounded, a movie that morphed from being about probation officers to a coming-of-age-story. A small crew of five people was used, with only a short outline by Owen (and no screenplay) used, with improvised dialogue based on discussions with the actors and cameraman John Spotton. It was filmed in three weeks on a budget of $75,000 while filmed in Toronto. In any case, this is a neatly made movie that manages to be quite efficient with its intent and style. The stark realism and the camera shots that seem documentary-like are quite effective, not letting the movie seep into mere film entertainment; it doesn't really have a moral to tell by the end, but you can definitely see what the film is trying to show with Kastner, who plays off this brash immature lead character quite well; even with those characteristics, he is still watchable through his pursuit of adulthood in the film. Biggs also does a fine job in the film as well, being young and weird but also capturing a bit more sense within her that seems quite believable. Rae and King play the parents of our lead quite neatly, being the right kind of "adversaries" for Peter while also seeming quite fair. The scenes with the two main leads (or the one involving a discussion with a French Canadian about individuality and identity) are relatively watchable, with the scenes involving the parents being tense. Even characters with small roles (like Vernon) have an impact, with his smarmy nature sticking out any time he's on screen. The film has a look that seems quite down-to-earth, even if it may seem a bit dated (one scene is shot with hidden cameras) to some. I found it to be quite nice in its realism and acting, while being unabashedly Canadian. This film was thought of as the ninth best Canadian film in 1984 by the Toronto International Film Festival, though it fell off the list in the 1993 edition. However, this film is readily available to watch from the National Film Board of Canada, and I'd recommend it for the sake of having something that is neatly done in 80 minutes.

Happy Canada Day, folks. I hope you've enjoyed this review and my attempt at celebrating Canadian cinema over the past few years. Oh...and go Montreal Expos! I know they don't exist right now, but still. After all, the Expo 67 (done fifty years ago) was the basis for the team's name when they came into existence two years later.

Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.

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