A Simple Curve (2005) Review

A Simple Curve (2007) Review
A Simple Curve (2005) Review
A Simple Curve (2005)
Director(s): Aubrey Nealon
Actor(s): Kris Lemche, Michael Hogan, Matt Craven
Running Time: 92 min
CGM Editors Choice
| November 12, 2007

Domino Films are known for distributing 100% Canadian independent films and A Simple Curve is no exception; an incredibly difficult undertaking, especially when the film is shot in BC. Somehow Aubrey Nealon has managed to bring his compelling feature film debut to screen with the Domino Films seal of all Canadian certified approval.

A Simple Curve is a sophisticated web of storytelling with a clean and straightforward plotline; the cliché onion with all its layers is possibly the best way to describe this film. Caleb (Kris Lemche), a twenty-seven year-old man who seems to never have surpassed his teenager years when his Mother tragically passes away, lives with his hippie father Jim (Michael Hogan). The two are still desperately trying to pick up the pieces years later. Caleb and Jim are at the edge of financial ruin with a woodworking/carpentry business and storefront in small town BC.

They have a spectacular piece of earth they call home, with its modest cabin-style house and escapist scenery that they are both struggling to keep from repossession. Jim is a staunch traditionalist who would rather dedicate himself to failing quality than successful rip off, considering craftsmanship over cost, whereas Caleb understands the grotesque truth that everyone seems to want cheap and slapped together product. Amidst this closely connected father-son relationship sprung from tragedy and loss, comes Matthew (Matt Craven), an old friend of Jim (and his passed away wife). Matt is flashy as he wafts in on his hydroplane and speaks of building a picturesque fishing lodge for tourist types. Caleb sees Matt as an answer to a prayer, one he can’t explain to Jim. Caleb sets to manipulating Jim into building an elegantly crafted chair and then rendering it down to its lowest common denominator as a way to mass produce dozens for Matthew and the Lodge project.

This simple storyline is punctuated with a desire to examine generations, survival, family, relationships and what is valued in life. A Simple Curve is full of depth and poetic storytelling. Having a director who has also written the screenplay always enhances a film, and even though this is Nealon’s first feature film, he has proven himself to be a formidable storyteller. The film is brilliantly executed, with some of the most breathtaking scenery of British Columbia ever committed to screen. Getting the weather to adhere to a film schedule is virtually impossible, but the lighting, shading, and colour palette of the ebbs and flows of the BC environment seem painted to specification for A Simple Curve. Truthfully, Nealon expresses a sharp eye for strikingly cast shots, like when Caleb enters a house for a first date, shadows and angling compliment the desperately awkward look on Caleb’s face.

The cast does a magnificent job revealing the characters in slow and well thought-out ways. Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica) and Mathew Craven (Timeline, Crimson Tide) play against each other in an intense love-hate relationship that can only be created out of once loving someone and then resenting them for a lifetime afterwards. Hogan and Cravenhold their characters’ secrets in every scene they play, making it riveting to watch them interact, with one another and with their surroundings. Pascale Hutton (Chicks with Sticks) does an eye-catching performance as Caleb’s love interest, without a doubt, someone we will see more of in film.

Most of all, Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3, Joan of Arcadia, eXistenZ) has the daunting job of playing the lead, proving himself as a talent strong enough to stand in front of a film and take whatever punches are thrown at him. Lemche does a passionate and moving job, playing both a deeply frustrated person and someone completely at one with his life and surroundings. As Caleb, Lemche seems to be at once comfortable in his skin, and crawling out of it. An enticing and thoroughly gripping performance by Lemche finds the viewer absorbed in and endeared by his character’s journey.

The deepest-affecting event in my life has probably been the same one Caleb experiences, so this film had a lot to live up to in character portrayal as the “lived that” part of my brain wouldn’t entirely switch off. It is amazing how the loss of one parent can, in many cases, bring you much closer to the other; A Simple Curve skillfully examines the desire for independence and the importance of keeping such a connection with the surviving parent. This is a richly layered film filled with empathetic characters and visually stunning images of the British Columbia landscape.

Final Thoughts

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