Film Review: NORTH MOUNTAIN (Canada) ***

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North Mountain Poster
In the dead of winter a young aboriginal hunter falls in love with a fugitive ex-con and helps him fight off an army of crooked cops seeking revenge.


Bretten Hannam


Made in 2015, NORTH MOUNTAIN is an almost full indigenous film from its direction, actors, setting, story and script.  

NORTH MOUNTAIN is the film’s setting as well as the area where the film’s protagonist a 30-something Mi’kmaw hunter first discovers the wounded body of a man that changes his life, also providing him some coming-of-age maturity for good measure.

Wolf (Justin Rain)is a young Mi’kmaw hunter, spends his days hunting and trapping on the isolated North Mountain.  His simple routine is disturbed when he discovers Crane (Glen Gould), a wounded ex-con on the run from the law.  Wolf brings him to his home, where he lives with his grandmother, Nan, nurses Crane back to health, and an intimate bond forms between them.  Some excitement is introduced with the arrival of a dirty cop from Crane’s past sets into motion a series of dark events that tests their relationship and changes their lives forever.  There is a huge bag of money.  Crane tries his best to remain incognito to prevent the family helping him from getting into trouble with the killers hunting him down.

It is a good story (that could be se anywhere) made even more intriguing with an indigenous setting.  A few snags in the plot involve how easily the bad guys keep finding Crane.  Best these overlooked as many Hollywood thrillers contain plot holes.  Director Hanna is also unafraid to include some violence (finger breaking) and gore to add a bit of flavour to his thriller.  The film is initially vague about Wolf’s family though everything comes clear towards the middle of the film.

“It would not be Christian if I did not look after her.” the film has minimal dialogue and each one indicates more than one bit of information.  The line for example, tells of the shopkeeper’s religion, her kind and caring nature and her relationship to the person mentioned in the sentence.

A good blend of drama, emotions with some suspense and thrills, NORTH MOUNTAIN is a well made indigenous film that should both appeal and entertain mass audiences.  Wolf uses his native hunting skills yo get better of the villains who hunt down him and Wolf for the large amount of money stolen from them.  How Crane got the money is never dealt in detail.

North Mountain is the directorial feature debut from Bretten Hannam, a Nova Scotia filmmaker, himself  of Mi’kma, Ojibweorigin while having a bit of Scottish ancestry.  He is a Fellow of the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters, Outfest Screenwriting Lab, as well as an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre’s Screenwriting Lab.  After a wildly successful festival run and racking up multiple awards, including the Screen Nova Scotia Award for Best Feature Film, North Mountain gets a week-long engagement at The Carlton Cinema, beginning on June 29.

Shot in Mi’kmaw and English with some subtitles.


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