(Thom Fitzgerald) has Don McKellar as a gay New York Jewish cellist
who appears to die from AIDS complications. But assistant DA Parker
Posey suspects an intervention from his cabal of fabulous friends and
family, which launches galloping flashbacks. The Event was meant to be
filmed in Canada, but it became a New York story when local financing
fell through. That dislocation hobbles the film, and the funhouse
casting doesn't help Sarah Polley and Olympia Dukakis as McKellar's
family! McKellar looks out of his emotional depth, but then this whole
film suffers from a painful air of fakery. 114 min. NN (CB) Opens Oct
3 at Bayview, Varsity.
* * * * *
THE EVENT (**)
Starring Don McKellar, Brent Carver. Written by Tim Marback, Steven
Hillyer, Thom Fitzgerald. Directed by Thom Fitzgerald. (STC) 114 min.
Opens Oct 3.
The point at the heart of Thom Fitzgerald's new drama -- that the AIDS
crisis is not over -- is a valuable one. Health Canada estimates that
as of June of this year, there are 50,000 people living with HIV/AIDS
in Canada, 30 per cent of whom do not know they're infected. Drug
therapies may be more effective but the disease has no cure, people
still die and to be complacent about it is reckless. By presenting the
story of a man who wants to determine how his life will end, the
Halifax-based director (The Hanging Garden, The Wild Dogs) also aims
to make some provocative points about euthanasia.
But good intentions and a nickel won't get you a Twizzler -- The Event
is hobbled by a shoddily written script, inconsistent direction and
piss-poor performances by a series of usually dependable indie-film
favourites. Though it tries to assume the contours of a mystery --
with a badly miscast Parker Posey in the role of the intrepid sleuth
-- the story is instead a graceless melodrama about an ailing
HIV-positive musician who's exhausted conventional treatments. With
heavy hearts, Matt (Don McKellar) and his loved ones -- including his
doctor Brian (Brent Carver), saintly mom Lila (Olympia Dukakis) and
snarky sister Dana (Sarah Polley) -- get ready for one last shindig.
In the weeks after Matt's "event," Parker's stern-faced assistant DA
searches for the truth.
But there is no mystery here and Fitzgerald's laborious attempts to
suggest otherwise is baffling. No wonder the actors look so confused
-- poor Posey acts as if she has a terrible headache and just wants to
lie down for a bit. With its unpleasant cocktail of saccharine
flashbacks, unsaucy banter, implausible interrogation-room
confrontations and ham-fisted AIDS polemics, The Event plays like a
cross between Longtime Companion and the worst-ever episode of Law &
Order. JASON ANDERSON