Waking up after a night of booze and drugs, Shaun (Francesco Filice) discovers that the girl he had been partying with the night before is dead. Fearful that he will be implicated in her death, and worried about his best friend Kenny’s (Patrick McFadden) reaction, since he was dating the deceased, Shaun does the only thing he can think of and runs. Enlisting the help of his ex-girlfriend, Amy (Caleigh Le Grand), the pair quickly find themselves being hunted by an armed and increasingly volatile Kenny.
In order to truly enjoy the single-take thriller that director Justin McConnell has constructed, one needs to be willing to overlook the fact that the central conflict in Broken Mile could have been resolved with a simple phone call. Much of the film’s tension hinges on Shaun’s inexplicable inability to make a single logical decision. This trait would be annoying had the performances and direction not made up for the shortcomings of the script.
Though the plot is not as taut as it could have been, McConnell manages to execute the single-take narrative in a assured manner. His incorporation of sounds, such as using a ringtone to increase the paranoia of the protagonist while in a ride sharing vehicle, works surprisingly well. As does the way in which he maps out the neighbourhood in which the film takes places. While the viewer is constantly aware of the camera, especially when entering and exiting vehicles, it is not a distraction thanks in part to the strong performances on display.
The cast convincingly handles both the tonal and location shifts without disrupting the flow of the film. Le Grand, a McConnell regular, is especially strong in moments, take the final act for example, when the film effortlessly moves from tense to darkly comedic to somber.
In the end, Broken Mile is an interesting look at guilt and grief. Though it stumbles at points, it proves to be more than its single-take selling feature.
Friday, March 24, 9:30 PM, Scotiabank Theatre
Tickets can be purchased at the Canadian Film Fest website.