Summary A doctor takes in a mysterious man who washes ashore at her remote cottage with a gunshot wound. Quickly they both learn the killer has arrived to finish the job, while a storm has cut them off from the mainland. Genre : Drama/Romance/Thriller Country : Canada Cast : Patricia Clarkson : Helen Matthews Scott Speedman : William Tim Roth : Tom Director : Ruba Nadda
“Helen, if you let him in, we are both dead.”
What do I remember of “October Gale” after watching it ? Strange but true, the soundtrack eventually made the biggest impression on me. Melancholic piano music wonderfully fitting the state of mind of Helen Matthews (Patricia Clarkson) . The entire film is carried by the compositions of Mischa Chillak. And especially the beautiful and fragile number “Close Watch” of Agnes Obel playing at the beginning of the film, while Helen navigates her boat over the huge lake to civilization, was perfect at that moment in the film. The modest and understated performances by Clarkson and Speedman (William) were outstanding. And afterwards I also had the desire to travel to such a remote island where you can stay undisturbed. But these are ultimately the only positive things I can think of. It’s a fairly empty and uninspired film. “October Gale” is being described as a thriller, with a touch of drama and romance in it. But ultimately it’s only a brief sketch about Helen’s process of handling the loss of her husband, with varying emotions coming up. There was a brief moment of romance in the present and a lot of it in the flashbacks. And to label it as a thriller, they really should have come up with a bit more tension since that section was extremely limited.
HelenMatthew, apparentlya doctor,goes toan islandin Ontariowhere she andher late husbandJames (Callum Keith Rennie) used to spend theirweekends and holidaysin aweekend cottagethathas been already100 years inpossession ofJames’family.Apparently, the only purpose of this trip is tofinallyclean up that cabin andcome clean withthe past.An entire cleaning operation so to say. This is accompanied bypainful memoriesand tangibleconfrontationwith the past.When it’s all a bit to much to her, she decides to go and buy anew fuse.After some delay she returns to the island, whilea powerfulstorm arises. In the courseof the evening shefindsthe woundedyoung manWilliam (Scott Speedman) witha gunshot wound in his shoulders and who gives,after being taken care of, avagueexplanation about what happened to him.
A simple story which is shown on the big screen in a simple way. At first I thought it was intriguing and fascinating. I was waiting for how the story would develop. But in the end I realized I was still waiting for it. By the time the denouement with the ultimate confrontation came, it was finished before I knew it. If you think this movie will end with a bang, I can already tell you that the curtain will fall with two modest bangs. There were also some dubious facts that made me frown my forehead. Most of these seemed to be rather far-fetched, and some weren’t very logical. I found it odd that there were no spare fuses in the cabin, but the moment Helen takes care of the injured William, she magically pulls out a complete surgical equipment with all kinds of forceps, scissors and disinfectant. Did they have that cottage already when she was an intern in a hospital? Did she use these instruments to practice on her boyfriend at that time? Or is it simply too dangerous to stay on this island? And the way James exchanged the fuses afterwards made me chuckle. A university degree is no guarantee for thinking logical and practical apparently.
The fact she couldn’t connect with her cell phone, while this really wasn’t a problem in the beginning, made clear that communication waves in these parts of the country aren’t really weatherproof and are blown to all directions at the slightest storm. It was also totally incomprehensible to me where those emotions between the two protagonists suddenly came from. There was no apparent reason for that. Perhaps the intimacy during the operation and the additional care, created the charged atmosphere and ensured the chemical reaction between Helen and William. And apparently it’s custom in those parts that after getting punched in the face, you’ll make some coffee for the attacker. But the most annoying thing was the fact that the whole affair about William wasn’t explained. Eventually I wanted to know what had happened and what caused it.
“OctoberGale” feels likean admirable attempt. Butthis attempt tomake something of it,fails unfortunately and results in a calmly developing film with amix ofemotions.Themelancholyandletting go of the past,the absence ofaffectionand the moment someone can feel it back again and the ultimate suspensewith vengeanceas a centralmotif.Theperformancesweren’t the problem. EspeciallyClarksonprovideda serene andwonderfulperformance, despite the limitedscript.EvenSpeedmansparkledat times, butI guess he was necessary to attract a female audience. The only one who was prettydisappointing(hislimited role probably had something to do with it), was Roth. He actedas if he hadjustflownover brieflytofinish the job. Conclusion:Cinematographicsometimesa joy tolook at, butthecontentmissed a littlepanacheand passion.