25 February 2002 | Suspiriane
An Odd Air of Coming Tragedy
OCTOBER 22 is one of those quiet, small films that disappears if you blink. When visiting Canada, I saw it on cable, and was taken aback, to be honest. As the film begins, it looks like a made-for-Lifetime-for-Women-Network movie. Character developments are deliberately paced, making the film appear normal, linear, milquetoast if you will. But an intangible shadow seems to lurk over the movie, becoming more recognizable as the story progresses. The ensemble cast of seemingly unconnected characters moves forward and seemingly closer to each other, though the viewer does not really know why, until the final moments.
The standout storyline -- and standout acting, for that matter -- comes from Amanda Plummer and Ernie Hudson, two actors known for their offbeat performances (Plummer in PULP FICTION, BUTTERFLY KISS; Hudson in GHOSTBUSTERS, THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE). Hudson plays a reclusive, socially-challenged boy trapped in a man's body who has a crush on his neighbor, played by Plummer. She is the neighbor that doesn't turn a blind eye/deaf ear to him when he greets her. He is completely smitten with her; her introverted personality is a calling card to him. But when things go amiss, get too close for comfort... well, you'll have to see the movie to discover the devastating consequences of her unintentional actions, the butterfly ripple-effect personified.
Michael Pare (yes, Michael "STREETS OF FIRE" Pare) also makes a noteworthy appearance as a down-on-his-luck factory worker. His kinship with the bottle (and a short fused temper) land him out of the frying pan and into the fire, over and over again. There is a saying: "Man looks in the abyss... there's nothing staring back at him... at that moment, man finds his character... and that is what keeps him out of the abyss." This Nietsche paraphrase (originally spoken in Stone's WALL STREET), describes Pare's character arc perfectly.
This movie is certainly not an epic, nor a classic -- but it is a solid movie with enough points of interest to make it worth watching. Its closeness, its intimacy, make it cohesive and a curiosity piece. Like JOE'S SO MEAN TO JOSEPHINE, JACK AND JILL, and I'VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING, it's an obscure Canadian film that will leave an odd impression upon you.