A Stone's Throw Camelia Frieberg

A Stone's Throw Camelia Frieberg

Imagine every bad stereotype of Canadian film rolled into one movie and you’ve got a good idea of how A Stone’s Throw plays out.

There’s a social issue (eco-terrorism) that writer-director Camelia Frieberg seems to think she’s supporting; a confused hero (Kris Holden-Ried), who’s torched a mining building and can’t seem to do anything but screw up; a disapproving sister (Katherine MacLellan) with nothing but contempt for his mission; a family tragedy (the environmental poisoning of a mining town) that reaches back from the grave to possess the protagonist; and a teenage nephew (Aaron Webber) who idolises and emulates our man to the point of near-tragedy. That’s right, it’s an environmentalist movie that advises you to do nothing, lest you cost a mining company some property or prompt a teenager to act impulsively.

It’s typical Canadian paralysis and guilt but all might have been forgiven if there was anything creative driving the train. Alas, Frieberg, a homegrown super-producer who’s worked with the likes of Atom Egoyan and Deepa Mehta, can’t give the material anything even resembling momentum. Her script is full of amateurish "you just don’t get it, do you?” dialogue and illogical events, such as the police’s non-search for the fugitive hero.

Visually, Frieberg’s just as awkward — though she noodles around the remote rural location like some two-bit Tarkovsky, her banishing of the unnatural seems more bourgeois than ecological and curses us to view some really bad craft.

The whole thing is oppressive without any aesthetic or thematic payoff; we leave pretty much as we entered, save for being bored to tears and puzzled beyond comprehension. (Mongrel Media)