Nurse.Fighter.Boy Charles Officer

Nurse.Fighter.Boy Charles Officer
It's unsurprising that Nurse.Fighter.Boy is a product of the Canadian Film Centre, given how deliberately "made" it feels, with its obvious colour palette, dominant solemn tone, artsy flourishes, amusingly on-the-nose names and an extremely convenient plot that keeps in mind narrative necessities of change and struggle. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily, as it's nice to see someone trying to understand the form, but the entire thing feels constructed and slapped together from text book definitions and hippie-dippy theories (omitting the sections on cliché), rather than anything resembling implicit understanding and sincerity. The plot is simple, with a laconic, alcoholic ex-boxer named Silence (Clark Johnson) meeting Jude (Karen LeBlanc), a nurse suffering from sickle cell anaemia, whose son Ciel (Daniel J. Gordon) is coming to a point in his life where violence marks his idea of manhood. With a character named Silence (no one snickered at the table read?), it's a safe assumption that the sparse, declarative remarks and rushed dependency lead to growth and acceptance, and of course, a new chapter in life for all involved. Cutesy and laboriously Canadian, this narrative construct is dull at best but at least the overall aesthetic — distinguishing family from isolation with sombre visual hues and magical realism — is darn pretty to look at. But that's just it: all we have here is a lot of concepts and a glossy package without a lot going on underneath to warrant much audience investment or interest. It does show, however, a bit of promise and the potential of things to come from those behind the camera, and both LeBlanc and Johnson are a pleasure to watch. Included with the DVD release is a "Making Of" featurette that unsurprisingly goes on about spirituality and two of Officer's short films, which again show someone unable to determine a language without hearing it somewhere else first. (Mongrel Media)