Published Aug 17, 2016It may seem remote to some, but Sudbury, ON is booming when it comes to the Canadian film industry, with many productions flocking to the city thanks to generous tax rebates and a weak loonie. The latest from Nickel city is Edge of Winter, a minimalist survival thriller by American director Rob Connolly that uses our country's sublime, limitless and imposing northern landscape to create a truly terrifying feature.
Suicide Squad star Joel Kinnaman leads the film as a father whose livelihood and manhood has taken a blow due to a lack of job prospects and a recent divorce. When his estranged sons come for a visit (Captain America: Civil War's Tom Holland and emerging Canadian actor Percy Hynes White), he decides to win back their interest and affection by teaching them how to shoot in the forest. What begins as a simple bonding exercise turns into a fight for survival (in more ways than one) when the family becomes stranded and Kinnaman's character discovers the boys' mother plans to uproot them overseas in less than a month.
Fans of Kinnaman's portrayal of downtrodden detective Stephen Holder in The Killing can expect the same steely-eyed precision and anger he brought to that character, while supporting roles from Shiloh Fernandez (of the 2013 Evil Dead reboot) and home-grown talent Rossif Sutherland (this year's River) add some heft to the film's final two acts once things get a bit more sinister.
If there's a downside to Edge of Winter, it has to be its lack of cinematic variation. Much of the action involves being lost in the Canadian wilderness, but there are only so many times you can see a snow blanketed lake before the utter whiteness of it all begins to wear away at the senses. Granted, that's undoubtedly the whole point, and there's something to be said for a film so barren watching it feels like you've passed the point of no return.