Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TADFF13: My Thoughts on Solo

solo

This Canadian wilderness thriller follows Gillian (Annie Clark), who is a girl haunted by a past tragedy, which still gives her nightmares every night.  Through the help of her friend Lacey (Alyssa Capriotti), Gillian gets a job as a councillor at summer camp.  As part of her training, the camp head Fred (Richard Clarkin) brings Gillian to the nearby island, where she is to spend two nights camping alone in the wilderness. 

Through Fred’s son Marty (Steven Love), Gillian finds out that there is a ghost story surrounding the island, involving a girl named Janie, who disappeared many years earlier, when Fred was a councillor at the camp.  When she arrives on the island, Gillian quickly finds out she is not alone, when she encounters a man named Ray (Daniel Kash), who has been fishing in the area.  Over the course of the next two days, Gillian begins to learn the sinister truth about the island and the stories surrounding it.

Solo is a thriller with a fairly simple and straight-forward narrative.  There are only five major characters in the film, with only about three playing a significant role in the plot.  While it’s quite easy to see where Solo is going, the plot of the film tries to keep you guessing about the true motives of the characters Gillian encounters.  There are a lot of secrets on this island and much of the film is spent with Gillian finding clues to the truth about the disappearance all those years prior.

When the film’s villain is revealed, the film becomes less about the mystery and more about Gillian making it off the island alive.  I have to applaud the actor playing the villain, since he gives a great performance, playing an absolute madman.  I would argue that maybe the performance is a little TOO crazy, but it is all in good fun.  I also have to add that there is very crowd-pleasing (and gory) moment in the film’s climax.

When it was all said and done, there is probably not all that much originality in Solo, but I still thought that it was a solid and enjoyable wilderness thriller.  If there is one small gripe I have about the film, it’s that Gillian’s backstory could have used more development.  The source of her nightmares is slowly revealed over the course of the film, but the end result seemed a bit matter-of-fact for me, with me not fully understanding how it relates to the overall plot of the film.  However, other than that small nitpick, I can say that I liked the film.

8 | LIKED IT