Thursday, March 8, 2018

levelFILM Review - Juggernaut

You can never go home to the small town that you left in a cloud of dust in is the message of Daniel DiMarco's Juggernaut. Saxon Gamble (Jack Kesy) returns to his hometown in 1986 after a stint of prison time. His beloved mother had died two years ago with his estranged brother Dean (David Cubitt) the town golden boy having brought a private prison to the town. Saxon also has an uncomfortable reunion with his dad turned preacher Leonard (Peter McRobbie) as he settles into the abandoned farm where his mother lived prior to her suicide.

As Saxon works his way around the property he comes across some evidence which on top of his gut leads him to investigate his mother's death as not a suicide. He teams up with his old buddy Hank Jr. (Ty Olsson) plus seeks advise from Hank Sr. (Stephen McHattie) to turn over some rocks. Meanwhile, his presence makes most of the locals uncomfortable. He spars with the town Sheriff (Philip Granger) most of the locals wonder openly why he came back with his Dad and brother at the top of the list. The only person willing to give him the benefit of the doubt is Dean's fiancé Amelia (Amanda Crew) who identifies with Saxon as she is also an outsider with some unresolved issues from her past.

Cinematographer Patrick Scola plays a large role in setting the scene for the story. From the first shot of Saxon coming back into town in the back of a pickup truck with green mountains in the distance Scola's eye is key in transmitting the big sky feel of the small western town. Writer-Director DiMarco script communicates the deep-seated anger in our protagonist both physically and verbally. He also captures the mid 80's feel with the big American cars corded phones and a regular use of pay phones.

Jack Kesy is formidable as Saxon. He's a man of view words, direct and has a habit of jumbling common sayings. The nothing's all good I hope, Well don't believe everything you think and The friend of my enemy is my enemy are three particular gems. Amanda Crew walks a delicate line as Amelia. She meets Saxon at a town hall and is immediately warned by Dean to stay away from him. But his wounded spirit attracts her against her better judgment. Look for veteran actors Peter McRobbie and Stephen McHattie as Leonard Gamble and Hank Senior respectively. Leonard has found god becoming a preacher after a life of hard living. Hank Sr. is the epitome of unseemly. The pair have an epic scene where Hank Sr.'s involvement with Saxon is strongly opposed by Leonard.

Juggernaut is the tale of the bad son coming. Saxon's return is not wanted by his family, local law enforcement and the townsfolk all expecting that he's fixing to start trouble. However, his close relationship with his mother drivers him to investigate her suicide. Along the way, he and his confidants rattle some cages causing to life changing results.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Juggernaut | Daniel DiMarco | Canada | 2017 | 105 Minutes.

Tags: Ex-con, Brothers, Suicide, Life Insurance, Inheritance,, Ex-Con, Private Prison,Triumph Motorcycle, Suicide, Pay Phone, Lil' Buddy.

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