September 25, 2018

VIFF 2018 | Must See BC – 'Kingsway' Plays Itself

Bruce Sweeney | Kingsway | VIFF 2018

VIFF 2018—Vancouver filmmaker Bruce Sweeney's latest indie drama Kingsway takes a decidedly East Vancouver influence to its characters and setting. Sweeney and his cast explore the middle-aged dysfunction of their neurotic characters struggling to keep themselves together.

Starring Jeff Gladstone as a sad sack recently estranged from his wife (Colleen Rennison) while dealing with his meddlesome sister (Camille Sullivan) and mother (Gabrielle Rose), the film feels very theatrical in its blocking of story and conflict. Set mostly in rooms with characters bickering and confronting each other on their issues, it's an often combative portrait of people.

There's lots of yelling as a possible extramarital affair rocks the tightly-knit family of reluctant singles. Before long, personalities clash around discussions of suicide, infidelity, and therapy.

Kingsway feels inelegant in its exploration of depression and often the worst instincts of familial love. What it tries to say about self-harm, dysfunctional families, and codependent relationships never quite connects to any more meaningful themes or the core of its characters. However, the engaging actors make most scenes fly with a natural ease.

Kingsway screens at the 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Sea to Sky and BC Spotlight streams.

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