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film review

A scene from October Gale, starring Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman and Tim Roth.

Those who own waterfront cottages expect certain things to wash up on their shores, but Scott Speedman is not the normal kind of debris.

In an unusually sombre, less-than-thrilling thriller written and directed by Ruba Nadda and starring the excellent Patricia Clarkson, Speedman plays Will, a hunky but inexplicable fellow with a gunshot wound to his chest and an explanation he keeps close to the vest.

The remote Georgian Bay cottage belongs to a widowed Toronto doctor played by Clarkson. Her husband died in an accident the previous fall; she is haunted/comforted by soft-focus flashback scenes of their life together. For her solo trip north she has 'peace and quiet' in mind. She gets neither.

Filmmaker Nadda's stock-in-trade is restraint, but October Gale builds up to nothing much. Clarkson's character is a little too cool headed to be believed, and it's hard to invest much emotion in Speedman's thinly offered mystery man. A vengeful Tim Roth arrives late in the script, delivering little menace and a lot of British accent. Clarkson is fascinating to watch, but the denouement is quick and flat. A storm blows over unexcitedly, as does this film.

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