A story of a loving father who dons a clown outfit and makeup to perform at his son’s sixth birthday, only to later discover that the costume – red nose and wig included– will not come off and his own personality changes in a horrific fashion. To break the curse of the evil outfit, the father must make grim choices with his own family facing danger.
Ray Owens is sheriff of the quiet US border town of Sommerton Junction after leaving the LAPD following a bungled operation. Following his escape from the FBI, a notorious drug baron, his gang, and a hostage are heading toward Sommerton Junction where the police are preparing to make a last stand to intercept them before they cross the border. Owens is reluctant to become involved but ultimately joins in with the law enforcement efforts
Who raped and killed the girl whose body is found by the lake near a rural Ontario community? And who was she? At first, these questions appear to be pivotal to “Small Town Murder Songs,” the riveting new film by Ed Gass-Donnelly. But are they? The police investigation is led by Walter (Peter Stormare), the troubled local police chief in this small Mennonite farming town. As the investigation unfolds Walter enters a labyrinth of religious repression and self-doubt that threaten everything he believes.
The opening scene introduces a quartet of characters that emerge in a tragic tableau; if at first cryptic, the subsequent plot reveals a complex interpersonal geometry. We learn that Walter had an affair with Rita (Jill Hennessy), who notified police when her thuggish boyfriend (Stephen Eric McIntyre) found the dead girl’s body. Walter now lives with Sam, a decent, God-fearing waitress (played by a luminous Martha Plimpton). As the murder investigation develops, Walter is pressured by all facets of the community: the provincial police, the townspeople, his Mennonite father and brother (who won’t forgive his questionable past), and Rita, who shuts him out completely. Before long, the duress pushes Walter to the edges of his sanity.
The terrific music, pumped up to dramatic effect, acts as the chorus in this disturbing drama. The film is divided into evangelical chapters (including the ominously titled “Repent and profess your faith”) which illustrate the weight of Christianity upon both Walter and his community. Brendan Steacy’s cinematography, a small but pitch-perfect performance from the wonderful Jackie Burroughs and the inimitable Peter Stormare in one of his strongest performances to date all conspire to make “Small Town Murder Songs” a devilishly good film. [Synopsis courtesy of Martin Bilodeau/Toronto International Film Festival]
After serving three years in prison for a bank robbery he did not commit, an amiable but aimless man decides to rob the bank for real. His plan involves infiltrating a local theatre company, but his scheme gets complicated when he falls for the company’s lead actress. [Synopsis courtesy Toronto International Film Festival]
A young girl who has been abandoned by her former-groupie mother informs a fading rock star that she is his daughter.
A winter’s evening. A country road. It is snowing, visibility is poor. Out of nowhere, a sledge glides down a hill. Brakes are slammed on, the car comes to a halt. Silence. Tomas, a novelist, is not to blame for this tragic accident, neither is little Christopher who could have kept a closer eye on his brother, nor Kate, the mother of the two, who could have called the children in earlier …
Afterwards, it is as if Tomas has fallen into a deep pit. The relationship with his girlfriend Sara collapses under this burden. He seeks refuge in his writing and tries to establish a family of his own with Ann and her daughter Mina. The film follows Tomas over twelve years in his attempt to give his life meaning again. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]