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The Bay of Love and Sorrows (January 23/03)

The prospect of finding a genuinely entertaining Canadian made film has become virtually impossible. Either they're obtuse to the point of artiness or they wind up embodying the very worst aspects of American movies. The Bay of Love and Sorrows, a new Canadian film with good intentions written all over it, falls under the first category.

Set in 1973, the film transpires over the course of one particularly eventful summer. Michael (Jonathan Scarfe) has been traveling throughout Asia and has just returned home, where he's begun a relationship with a local working-class woman named Madonna (Joanne Kelly). Her brother, Silver (Christopher Jacot), is a dim-witted but well meaning sort who immediately takes a liking to Michael. The three become mixed up in some nasty business involving drugs thanks to a sleazy denizen named Everette (Peter Outerbridge), resulting in big trouble for everyone involved.

The primary problem with the film is the terminally slow pace, exacerbated by director (and co-writer) Tim Southam's resistance in introducing a plot. He's apparently under the impression that these characters are charming and intriguing enough to keep the film afloat on their own, but since they're barely developed beyond the most superficial level, that's just not possible. The performances are fine and the Maritime scenery is often quite stunning, but the complete lack of an interesting storyline negates their effectiveness.

The Bay of Love and Sorrows is nothing more than a dull bore, unlikely to appeal to anyone except the most ardent fans of David Adams Richards' novel.

out of

© David Nusair