Sunday, November 25, 2018
B.I.T.S. 2018 Film Review - Level 16
Canada, 102 Minutes, 2018.
A boarding school for girls, orphanage, prison and finishing school are the pieces put together to form Verstalis Academy the institutional setting of writer-director Danishka Esterhazy new film Level 16. The timeframe is not given but the girls are shown lectures from the fifties plus movies from the 40's on moving picture night as to not compromise their cleanliness (the first virtue) or foster curiosity (the first vice) The students are prompted by buzzers and lights to know when it is time to go to bed, take their medication, eat their meals or go to assembly the last tending to be a time when nothing good happens. The narrative focuses on two girls Vivien (Katie Douglas) and Sophia (Celina Martin) They are best of friends during their level 10 year when Vivien makes a sacrifice to help her friend resulting in the former's punishment. They meet again in the graduating year known as Level 16 where they will be repaid for their obedience, humility and patience alongside cleanliness by being adopted by wealthy families to a good home or so they are told. Sophia tells Vivien a secret she has been sitting on for three years about the place that will impact Vivian's thoughts about her education, the academy, plus most importantly spark her ability to think and act. This is a feature where the audience will become deeply invested in Esterhazy's characters forming a strong rooting interest for the two leads. It's a sharp look into a totalitarian paternalistic regimented world whose tenets shockingly could be duplicated and used to manipulate today.