Published Dec 01, 2001This won the Best Canadian First Film at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, and although it suffers from over-ambition, it's easy to see why. Writer/director/editor Sean Garrity assembles a convoluted "love triangle with four people" that's a natural showcase for some great acting and a sharp visual sense, all framed in loving shots of his native Winnipeg. In fact, love of his city seems to be the only kind of love Garrity believes in, as these four characters are trapped inside miserable obsessions with unattainable partners past, present and future. As performed by Jonas Chernick, Sarah Constible, Gordon Tanner and Micheline Marchildon, the characters are much more likeable than they deserve to be. Their neuroses are compounded by Garrity's dialogue, which at times resembles a high school play. The pinnacle apology by the principle female character sounds like a dream speech concocted by every wronged man who wants to hear his ex beg for forgiveness, thereby providing him with absolution for his hysteria. The performances rise above both this and Garrity's distracting cuts to a biological educational film, which we're to assume is about the inevitable fallibility of human emotion to biological impulse. There's far too much signpost symbolism, such as the character dealing with old secrets by scratching away her wallpaper, or the gift of an antique boomerang that becomes an unknowingly perpetual gift among the four characters. But Garrity redeems any of his writing flaws by letting the characters develop and reach some kind of conclusion. Unlike other modern tales of dysfunctional relationships, Garrity's group experience evolution, if not exactly total resolution. Having proven he's an able director, Garrity's promise as a writer will no doubt reveal itself next time out.