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film review

The connection between creativity and depression is a well explored subject, a lopsided Vincent van Gogh being the well-established poster child for the topic. With his semi-tense psychological thriller The Dark Stranger, the Canadian filmmaker Chris Trebilcock continues the discussion. The believable Katie Findlay plays protagonist Leah, a young graphic novelist who is traumatized by the suicidal death of her artist mother. She feels responsible, and sinks into deep bouts of melancholia – the dark stranger – with accompanying scenes of hallucinatory anxiety. But if artists possess within them the poison of depression, they also possess its antidote. It's up to Leah to draw herself out of her black moods. Scary Stephen McHattie is around as an ominous art dealer, and while Trebilcock uses creepily animated sequences to artful effect, the film peaks too weakly.

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