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Review: Black Fly (2014)

I was recently made aware that a little known independent film called Black Fly has been released after some studio trouble delayed it. I read the synopsis and while it was interesting enough to watch I was still relatively sceptical as to what the film was actually about.

The film tells the story of Jake Henson (Dakota Daulby), a troubled teen who runs away from his abusive uncle and goes to live with his brother Noel (Matthew MacCaull) in his rural homestead. As the two begin to reconnect, dark secrets and a murky past are dredged back up.

I really enjoyed this film, which I did not think I would.

One of the strongest points of the film is the cinematography, which is excellent throughout. The camera work is expert, and it is clear that the cameraman is the unsung hero of this film.

The story itself is based on the exploits of real life serial killer Noel Winters and the incident occurred in Jason Bourque’s (the Director) hometown, which gives an added level of nuance to the story, as it has clearly impacted the director considerably.

The performances are sublime, with the characters of Jake and Noel being particular highlights. The character of Noel displays perfectly the intricacies and subtleties of a true psycho serial killer, going from charming yokel to murderous and psychotic in a single moment. Jake’s portrayal as the abused and naive teen just looking for somebody to care for him plays well into the Brother dynamic, and is part of why these two work so well together as brothers. There is genuine heart and chemistry between them, which makes the characters all the more believable.

One of the few things I disliked was the character of Paula (Christie Burke). I thought she was played well, but I found her constant gloominess to be annoying although why the character would be that way is understandable.

The film is incredibly bleak, which fits the narrative and gives a sense of hopelessness that Jake will never find happiness and that Noel will never find justice.

Something else that I didn’t necessarily dislike, but thought could be better was the Sheriff’s inclusion. He only appears near the end, and is summarily killed off shortly after. I think that if the Sheriff had had one or two scenes towards the first act of the film what happens to him would have had more weight to it.

Verdict: Overall, I liked this film, and the cast and crew involved are certainly bright creative sparks in a fog of rehashed, rebooted drivel, and the director certainly shows promise. I would give Black Fly a solid 8.5/10.

 

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