Borealis

(Canada, 2015, 95 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Jonas Chernick, Joey King, Kevin Pollak, Emily Hampshire, Clé Bennett, Jake Epstein
EXEC Phyllis Laing, Michael Paszt, Andrew Thomas Hunt, James Fler, Mark Gingras, Erla Glesby, Kevin Pollak
PROD Jonas Chernick, Liz Jarvis
SCR Jonas Chernick
CAM Samy Inayeh
ED John Gurdebeke
PROD DES Maryam Decter
MUS Ari Posner
PROD CO Banana-Moon Sky Films / Buffalo Gal Pictures

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Jonah (Jonas Chernick) plays poker in a seedy back-room game overseen by Tubby Finkleman (Kevin Pollak), who reluctantly grants Jonah a $100,000 IOU. The volatile Tubby takes Jonah’s dog as collateral and threatens to harm the gambler and his pot-smoking teenage daughter Aurora (Joey King) if the debt isn’t settled by dawn. When Jonah appeals to his girlfriend Kyla (Emily Hampshire) for a loan, she dumps him, tired of his negligent parenting.

After Aurora undergoes an eye exam, the doctor delivers the grim prognosis to Jonah in private: she’s going completely blind. Unable to deal with telling her the truth, he insists that she join him on a road trip up north to Churchill to see the Northern Lights. He wants to assuage his guilt over the poor job he’s done as a father by sharing the extraordinary sight with Aurora while she can still appreciate it. But this is not only a trip northward, it’s a trip inward.

With Tubby hot on their trail, the two finally confront their tragic pasts and individual vices in surprising and sometimes comical ways. After Jonah finally reveals the truth about Aurora’s failing vision, she has an overnight encounter that will change her forever.

Sean Garrity’s film never dips into the maudlin, offering an entertaining reminder that two people looking at something don’t necessarily see the same thing…

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