Never Steady, Never Still (2017)

Director: Kathleen Hepburn

Writer: Kathleen Hepburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Shirley Henderson, Theodore Pellerin, Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell, Jared Abrahamson, Hugo Ateo

 

Plot: A mother struggles to take control of her life in the face of advanced Parkinson’s disease, while her son battles his sexual and emotional identity amongst the violence of Alberta’s oil field work camps.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Look at Parkinson’s Suffering

 

Story: Never Steady, Never Still starts as we meet Judy (Henderson) a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, her husband Ed (Campbell) cares for her the best he can, while their son Jamie (Pellerin) heads off into the world to find a job before going off to college, he starts in the oil field work camps which leave him feeling out of place.

When Ed dies suddenly, Judy is left to care for herself with just the locals looking after her the best they can without interfering in her life. Jamie’s life isn’t going any better as he is struggling to learn about himself in the harsh working environment.

 

Thoughts on Never Steady, Never Still

 

Characters – Judy is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she does seem to be in control for the most part, but when her bad moments happen, her husband is there to help, she goes to support groups to help cope with everyday issues, only for her husband to die and leaving her alone to deal with the problems she doesn’t want to ask for help and the snowy conditions only make her life more difficult. Jamie is her son that is being forced to work in the oil fields where he must learn quickly just to make enough money to support himself with any future with college, he is trying to learn about himself which makes his life decisions even more difficult. Kaly is the local shop assistant that helps Judy with delivers while waiting for her boyfriend to return to help her with her pregnancy. Ed is the father and husband that cares for Judy, he always helps her until he suffers a heart attack.

PerformancesShirley Henderson is great in the leading role showing us just how difficult everyday life can be with Parkinson’s she doesn’t overplay the illness, while showing us just how difficult it can be to live with. Theodore Pellerin is good too, though a lot of his scenes are about him not knowing his place in the world which takes away from the difficulties his mother is meant to be going through. Theodore Pellerin is strong in his role though he never gets to the levels of Shirley, which can be said for the rest of the supporting cast.

StoryThe story here follows a woman suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she has support from her husband and has been doing the best she can with the disease, we see how her struggle becomes more difficult when her husband dies and with her son away she must deal with the problems alone in condition that will not make her suffering any easier. This side of the story is the best side because it shows us a real problem that could be faced by people with small families who can’t give up days to support the sufferer. On the other side of the story we follow her son as he wants to figure out his own body while dealing with harsh working condition, this side of the story does drag and because of Judy’s problems we want to see her life rather than his.

SettingsThe film is set in Alberta which does put us in a place with harsh weather condition that the characters must work through, being away from easier support doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Discovering Ed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Jamie’s storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced drama that does show us just how difficult living with Parkinson’s can be, it has a wonderful leading lady performance, but might not be for everyone.

 

Overall: Simple and Effective Drama.

Rating

 

 

Blackfoot Trail (2014)

blackDirector: Adam MacDonald

Writer: Adam MacDonald (Screenplay)

Starring: Missy Peregrym, Eric Balfour, Nicholas Campbell, Jeff Roop

 

Plot: An urban couple go camping in the woods and find themselves lost in the territory of a predatory black bear.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Camping with a Bear

 

Story: Blackfoot Trail starts as our young couple Jenn (Peregrym) and Alex (Roop) go down to the woods listening to terrible travelling music which I side with poor Jenn who had no escape from the music. Arriving in the remote woods the two-urban people pack their phones away and head of for their camping weekend. OOOOO there is a BASED OF A TRUE STORY warning, because people go camping I guess that is true.

We go through the usual this is a fun trip including the almost pointless skinny dipping scene, looking for wood for the fire scene, noises in the woods surprise us scene and creepy stranger turning up with Brad (Balfour) taking this role with his strange attempt of an Irish accent. 35 minutes into the film we are still dealing with the camping experience, this is what I want to see the most and now we have the we got lost in the woods situation. 45 minutes into this movie and I am pretty sure I read there was going to be a black bear, I am not sure where it is but I think he was late for production and they decided to film lots of pointless camping scenes and it is dark again.

I see the bear is here outside the tent 46 minutes into a 90-minute movie, and he is hungry. Well the couple didn’t see the bear eat their food and we get the ‘IT COULD BE WORSE’ cliché followed by make-up sex that gets disturbed so we will try again in the morning, no, but the ‘WE ARE GOING TO BE OK’ cliché hits hard now. THE BEAR 55 minutes into the film the bear has arrived to turn this bad weekend into a nightmare. Alex gets eaten quite quickly leaving Jenn having to find her own way to safety with a blood thirsty Black bear after her, line up the running, hiding and desperate searching for help and for a non-found footage film there is a hell of a lot of shaky cam going on.

Blackfoot Trail is a survival horror that I found myself enjoying commentating on because very little happens for the first hour of the film except plenty of camping issues and no not the gamer term camping just two people in the woods camping. I found this keeping me from getting bored with how the story unfolded because the couple are not the most likeable pairing and the way I look at these sort of films is, the moment something messed up happens you get the hell out you do not shrug your shoulders and go it was probably nothing.

The bear attack is bloody but is mostly off camera in the end where we either see the bears roar or the bloody aftermath of the attack. The lead couple don’t really have the chemistry to make them see like they are about to get to the engaged stage of their relationship and the random almost cameo from Eric Balfour is laughable waste of his talent. This is a really slow movie that should reach much higher levels of intensity to make the impact required from the subject matter.

 

Overall: This is a very boring film about something that could have been a very intense situation that lacks any punch about it.

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