Through Black Spruce (2019) – Review


Through Black Spruce Movie on hoopla digital

Source: Through Black Spruce (2019) Movie – hoopla

A beautiful young woman from northern Ontario goes down to Toronto in search of her missing sister. Her broken uncle comes to grips with personal tragedy and the bottle. Meanwhile, a volatile drug dealer threatens them both.

That’s pretty much the story of this film that, like a lot of Canadian content, will either speak to you a lot or not at all.

Myself, I found Through Black Spruce a pleasant surprise in several ways. But I grew up spending large chunks of every year on the southern part of the Canadian shield, a geographic region with solid rocks far older and more fascinating than any Egyptian pyramid or Greek temple. Mind you, that’s coming from someone who has only seen travel videos of Egypt and Greece and not the real thing!

Still, the fact that the topography goes into the billions of years cannot help but fascinate any sensitive soul or nature lover who feels the prehistoric vibe barefoot or stretched out by the waterside.

It took me a while to adjust to watching a Canadian film. A lot of Canadian content, except for maybe sci-fi and comedy, comes off like a high-school play. That is, it’s pretty crummy.

We don’t have a lot of people in Canada and our ‘semi-communist’ government – this film was heavily supported by the taxpayers – tries to tell us what we should like through silly regulatory laws. All this tends to make for lousy, artificially propped-up productions that just don’t cut it in the real world of genuine competition.

Most exceptional talent goes south to the USA… in music and in film. If you don’t believe me, just Google “Canadian music stars” or “Canadian film stars.”

The USA is like a huge, creative production machine that recognizes and advances talent much faster and usually more effectively than the languishing Canadian arts scene.

Sorry Canadians, but that’s just how I usually see it.

But not this time.

In fact, I considered entitling this review, “There’s hope for Canadian cinema.”

Try this film out if you have any interest in the plight of indigenous people in contrast to the concrete alienation of Toronto. Like a Leonard Cohen or Bruce Cockburn tune, depending on your personality, you’ll either fall asleep or be delighted.

Through Black Spruce didn’t do particularly well here or in the USA. But considering how blatantly politicized TV and movies have become, maybe that’s a good thing.

—MC

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