First hearing about October Gale last year, with the announcement of casting, hopes were high. With writer-director Ruba Nadda (Cairo Time) at the helm, steering performances from Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson (Pieces Of April), Academy Award nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy), and Genie Award nominee Scott Speedman (Adoration) – it had all the hallmarks of a taut thriller, with perhaps something of a twist on the tired home invasion schtick that persists in cinema. At the very least, it promised a dark drama, made by a woman, and led by a woman.
For those unfamiliar with the project, Patricia Clarkson plays Helen – a qualified doctor who is mourning her dead husband. She opts to spend some time alone at their isolated waterside cottage during a huge storm, but is disturbed when a man (Scott Speedman) washes ashore with a gunshot wound. Soon enough, his would-be assassins follow – led by Tim Roth.
While the sight of the phenomenal Patricia Clarkson stalking a bad guy through the woods at night with a shotgun is something that audiences everywhere can greatly appreciate, this new trailer for October Gale falls a little flat. First of all, there is far too much exposition about our heroine, Helen. The whole undertaking would be much more effective if we saw her only at the cottage, with snippets of detail about her being gradually revealed – mirroring the reveal of the shot man’s situation. Secondly, there are no words to describe the disappointment at seeing the good doctor and her shady, wounded guest lock lips. That, unfortunately, is a cliché too far in a film that has the potential to resolutely buck every last one of those trends.
But, beneath all of that criticism, there is a faint glimmer of hope. It is always possible that trailers are less than representative of the film they are promoting, and watching this preview of October Gale creates the nagging sense that maybe – just maybe – the real movie is just below the surface of the ‘promotion-by-the-numbers’ editing that seems to be on display here. The key lies in the clip – about two-thirds of the way through – of Clarkson loading a shotgun. Speedman asks her, “How good are you with that thing?” To which Clarkson replies, “Very good.” And then the thing turns on its head.
If October Gale turns on its head and defies expectations, this could work. If it is a film about a woman standing her ground and protecting her home, as intriguing conspiracies and connections are slowly unveiled, it is most definitely worth checking out. Fulfilling that potential would elevate October Gale from heavy rain shower to powerful maelstrom, rather than stalling as a storm in a teacup, as this trailer suggests. Audiences can decide for themselves when the film has its VOD release on January 27th, and its theatre release on March 6th 2015.
Source: The Playlist