Liz’s Review: ‘OCTOBER GALE’ is a quiet storm


Regret and personal penance are issues we all tackle. Life’s small decisions can turn into life’s large consequences. Fleeting moments become the the ones that stick with you forever. In the new film October Gale, a woman looks to move on from her husband’s death by opening their seasonal cabin by herself. When her solace is shattered by an oncoming storm, she must tap into her emotional resources not only to save her home, but the mysterious who washes ashore with it.

Writer/Director Ruba Nadda brings us a story of trust and instinct. Set in Ontario’s Lake Joseph, While perhaps under the guise of a thriller, when you get to the heart of this film, it’s sincerely about two people healing from their respective tragedies. Patricia Clarkson is a legend in my book. Every beat and breath has purpose. Scott Speedman, who still looks like a Greek god, is a superstar. The chemistry between Clarkson and Speedman is electric. These two are truly gifted actors. Each battling their own demons, the pair is a joy to watch.


The film has a lovely structure, utilizing flashbacks as sense memory. The first 20 minutes are focused on Clarkson‘s character, Helen, while the final 20 minutes shift towards Will, Speedman‘s character (as far as the flashbacks are concerned). The location is breathtakingly stunning. Each long shot is a warranted break from the chaos that ensues during the meat of the story line. I must give pause and recognize the composer, Mischa Chillak. The score is both reminiscent and hopeful. It sets a beautiful tone throughout. October Gale is a slow and steady burn. I very much enjoyed this film and would specifically recommend it for the 30+ audience for the full appreciation of subject and tone.

Toronto doctor Helen Matthews (Patricia Clarkson), mourning the death of her husband (Callum Keith Rennie), retreats to the isolated island cabin where they’d spent some of their most cherished moments together. Her reverie is cut short when a mysterious man, Will (Scott Speedman), washes ashore with a bullet in his shoulder. As he recuperates, the two develop a tentative connection, though Will refuses to explain what happened. When a severe storm traps them on the island as Will’s would-be killer returns, their ability to trust each other then becomes a matter of survival. Also co-starring Tim Roth. OCTOBER GALE is a story about a couple warily exploring their growing bond under extreme circumstances.

Writer-director Ruba Nadda has received critical acclaim for character-driven dramas such as SABAH and CAIRO TIME (winner of Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2009 Festival). In OCTOBER GALE, she brings her astute psychological insight to bear on an intimate, suspenseful thriller.

Directed by: Ruba Nadda

Screenplay by: Ruba Nadda

Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman, Tim Roth

Release Date: March 6, 2015 

Running Time: 91 minutes


About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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