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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 08.08.12] Canada drama

In a world where we're regularly met with violence or the threat of violence, it's not too surprising that a story like that of Jason Buxton's Blackbird feels so uncomfortably authentic.

The film stars Connor Jessup ("Falling Skies") as Sean, a teenager who travels in the outer circles of highschool. Things get particularly bad when he moves to a small town to live with his estranged father. There he meets a girl he likes and a bunch of guys who don't like him but when he makes an offhanded threat that results in police involvement, he finds himself in the middle of an investigation that has him pegged as a would-be teen shooter.

Though this is Blackbird's starting point, the story follows Sean not only as he fights to clear his name but also as the teen tries to survive Waterville, one of the toughest youth prisons in the country.

The subject matter alone suggests Blackbird is going to be a contentious film and I'm hopeful Buxton has something to say beyond pushing a few buttons; the trailer certainly suggests as much. It's nice to see Jessup leading a film; the young actor was a standout on "Falling Skies" but his character keeps disappearing (likely because he's making movies) so it'll be nice to see him for longer than a few minutes.

Blackbird will play TIFF before opening in Canadian theatres on October 1st.

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