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Review: The Valley Below

March 6, 2015

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

The Valley Below PosterAlthough first time feature director Kyle Thomas shows promise, The Valley Below is a film that somehow manages to feel both mundane and overreaching at the same time.  After premiering at TIFF, the Canadian drama is opening in limited release at the Carlton this weekend.

The story is divided into four separate parts, introducing us to pregnant teenager Kate (Mikaela Cochrane), struggling singer-songwriter Warren (Kris Demeanor), lonely taxidermist Gordon (Stephen Bogaert), and police officer Barry (Alejandro Rae) who serves as the guardian of their sleepy Alberta town.

These four stories come together in subtle and ultimately tragic ways, but The Valley Below still seems loose limbed and underdeveloped, not delving deep enough into or spending much time with any of the characters for us to be truly invested in them.

Although the film ultimately becomes a depressing melodrama, we can at least be thankful for some nice cinematography of the sweeping natural landscapes, and a good soundtrack courtesy of a diverse group of Canadian musicians.  Hardcore supporters of homegrown cinema might want to give this one a shot.

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