Dysfunctional father/son relationships can really escalate when the father and son are on their own living in the wilderness of Canada. This picturesque setting provides an appropriate backdrop to fuel the tension between the father and son depicted in Aubrey Nealon’s dramedy A Simple Curve.

In the film, Caleb (Kris Lemche) and father Jim (Michael Hogan) run a woodworking store in town. Jim is a master craftsman who sees his business more as an excuse to create works of art. Caleb can only see the financial ruin his father is digging himself into with his compassion for quality over cost, and despite his best efforts, he is unable to convince the townspeople to share in Jim’s mindset. So when Jim’s old army buddy Matthew (Matt Craven) shows up for a visit and secretly offers Caleb the possible business connection needed to save their store, Caleb begins to manipulate his father’s talents in order to sell out for the good of the business.

The entire film is filled with tension and bitterness between the three main characters. These feelings then pour in to the external characters that these men come in contact with, including Caleb’s new girlfriend who notices his detachment to his hometown and lifestyle, and two hippies who Jim invites to stay with them. Jim and Caleb’s relationship had been strained since the death of Caleb’s mother after a long term illness that brought Caleb back home and kept him from leaving afterwards. Jim lives with the guilt of a secret he has kept from Caleb which resurfaces when Matthew renters his life, bringing the past with him to their old-world log cabin overlooking the mountains reflected in the nearby lake.The visuals on this film are easy on the eyes, and the ending is fitting and final with some unanswered questions that viewers can decide on the answers on themselves.

The montage sequences help to move the story along while still giving an essence of what the life of a woodworker is like and how they accomplish their craft. The comedy and drama balance out well. Lemche’s performance best captures the comedy while Craven’s intensity builds the drama with Hogan balancing smoothly but effectively between the two, showing that when it comes to human relationships, the dysfunctional can be both.

Also on the DVD is a short film titled Lucky. Directed by Avie Luthra in South Africa, the story follows a young boy named Lucky who leaves his Zulu village for the city of Durban to live with his uncle after his mother succumbs to AIDS. Lucky is excited to be moving, thinking he will finally have the chance to go to school. When in Darfur, though, he finds himself spending his days alone in his uncle’s apartment and ends up befriending the old, racist Indian woman next door in hopes of being able to borrow her tape recorder so as to play a tape left behind by his dying mother. The blooming relationship that plays in the 18 minute film between the boy and the woman is interesting to watch, and Lucky’s circumstance is eye-opening to an American viewer. In saying this, I give A Simple Curve a B+ and Lucky an A-. Running Time: 92 minutes

For more information on A Simple Curve, visit http://www.asimplecurve.com/ , or to subscribe to Film Movement and receive independent DVD’s each month, visit http://www.filmmovement.com/ .

Be Sociable, Share!