Skip to main content

2 out of 4 stars

Country
USA
Language
English

The Right Way

Written and directed

by Mark Penney

Story continues below advertisement

Starring Karyn Dwyer

and Jefferson Brown

Classification: N/A

Rating: **

There's been a disturbing trend lately of Canadian films that are actually making money at the box office - outside Quebec, that is. Bon Cop, Bad Cop, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie and Away from Her are recent success stories. But like the overheated economy and the soaring loonie, it's time for a correction. The good times just can't last.

Enter twentysomething Canadian director Mark Penney with an old-fashioned, grim Canadian movie that, frame by frame and line by line, has no shot at the box office or even the sparsely attended but de rigueur week at the Carlton cinema. It is screening tonight and tomorrow at Camera Bar in Toronto's west end, which should just about cover the courier cost of sending DVD copies to the press.

It's a shame because, despite its paramount flows, The Right Way marks the birth of a promising young director who can sustain enough darkness and despair for 80 minutes to make early Atom Egoyan look like a lost Wayne and Shuster special. Penney's tale of woe has it all: drugs, suicide, abortion, suburban alienation and abusive parents who tell their children they're too lazy to wipe their own asses.

Story continues below advertisement

After meeting in some suburban dive, Amy (Karyn Dwyer) and David (Jefferson Brown) establish an unlikely emotional connection. "At least he's got dreams," Amy, a painter, says of wannabe poet and songwriter David. Blame it on their parents: Amy's mother is a junkie whose only notable record is 23 years of child neglect; David's father, a man who defines himself by his work ethic, has been on his case to find a job. When Amy gets pregnant, David's hysterical reaction leads to a more tragic turn of events.

It takes more than tragic outcomes to make a tragedy, however. That's where The Right Way takes the first of its many wrong turns. Without gritty writing or psychologically complex performances, the pain and agony that Amy and David go through leave them stranded somewhere between histrionics and petulance. Penney, who also wrote the script, makes the rookie mistake of piling up details that confirm a forgone conclusion.

Although The Right Way looks like someone uploaded 80 minutes of home video onto YouTube - the film was shot in 10 days in Brampton, Ont., for less than $10,000 - it is not without visual flourishes. A striking montage of suburban images does more to situate the characters' world than any words Penney has put in their mouths.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter