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VIFF: When Life Was Good – review

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Yesterday I mentioned I was going to attend When Life Was Good, a no budget Canadian feature film that has been getting a lot of buzz on the festivalĀ circuitĀ this year. I’m proud to say that the screening more then lived up to expectations and the hype is justified. Although lacking big budget production values When Life Was Good manages to hook you in with an excellent story, laughter from natural dialog, and impressive performances from the two lead characters played by Kristine Cofsky & Casey Manderson.

That is not to say this movie is without its flaws. The supporting cast has both a mix of hilarious and well acted characters, as well as dismal group of people who seemed to be pulled off the street. Also the guided improv style of filmmaking has its pros and cons. On the plus side some of the funniest moments would have not developed if it were not for this direction. However at the same time it resulted in some sketchy editing techniques that reminded me a lot of a bad MTV special. Scenes were pieced together from multiple takes and then shuffled together like a deck of cards making for an arty, all be it annoying, flow.

For what its worth I consider When Life Was Good an excellent example of where the Canadian film industry is going. Its nice to see what someone can do when they ignore the rules of traditional filmmaking and delve into a project without a budget, big name actors, or high end equipment. There is still one more screening of When Life Was Good at VIFF this year, make sure to go get your tickets soon.

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