First things first: I'm a realist.
Today my friend Paula texted me at like 10:30 this morning and asked if I wanted to go see “that Thunder Bay movie” with her. So, naturally, I was like, “What Thunder Bay movie??” and she sent me the trailer. I went in with zero expectations and no idea what the film was actually about and to be honest, I’m still not 100% sure. We went to the 4:45 PM showing on a Saturday, hoping to beat the rush, but we didn’t quite succeed – the theatre was pretty packed!
Here in Thunder Bay, it’s definitely not an everyday occurrence to see our city’s landmarks on the big screen, so that’s an exciting thing for most of us. However, I feel like maybe the film focused too much on being THUNDER BAY and less on having an actual plot to follow. I get it, it’s supposed to be a coming-of-age story, which I guess it fulfills, but it just felt… a little bit too in-your-face about being local. I really wanted to like it and to come back and write about how this is THE best film to grace any film festival ever, but I can’t really do that.
I can write about how the lead actors, Jackson Martin, Nick Serino and Reece Moffett portrayed their characters really well. I was especially taken with Jackson Martin’s acting because his seemed the most authentic which makes sense as he’s been in other things before, this being his first feature film. Nick Serino’s character, Nate, is indisputibly an asshole and I found that really difficult to get around. By the end of the film, I was really rooting for something bad to happen to him because he was SUCH a huge douche. That’s terrible to say, because his character is a 14 year old adolescent boy, but it’s true.
The three boys worked really well together, which again makes a lot of sense, because Nick Serino and Reece Moffett are actually cousins in real life… and seeing as Jackson Martin’s character is supposed to be a little bit of an outcast in their trio, it really works. Another thing I really enjoyed was the camerawork – there were a lot of really fantastic shots of the landscapes, waterscapes, and different creatures in nature, including the horrifying and well-known (in Thunder Bay, anyway) spruce beetle.
Basically, to sum up, this film was a lot of teenage boys smoking weed and drinking stolen beer and showing off their masculinity… which is actually incredibly accurate when you’re shooting a movie about teenage boys in Thunder Bay. It really took a hard look at both the sensitive sides of adolescence and the crueler underbelly, I just think it was too “HEY LOOK IT’S THUNDER BAY” for it’s own good – it felt a tad gimmicky by the end of the film. It is definitely worth a watch, though, especially if you were born and raised in Thunder Bay, like I was.