Kayak To Klemtu


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Kayak To Klemtu
"Heart strings are taut for plucking"

Good intentions do not always make good movies. It is a cruel irony that a powerful script about bad people works better on screen than a pure-as-driven screenplay about subjects that really matter.

A 14-year-old First Nation (Red Indian in old money) girl, called Ella (Ta'Kaiya Blaney) decides to paddle her kayak 450 miles up a river in British Colombia in memory of her late Uncle Bear to speak at a protest meeting against an oil company's proposal to use the area and inevitably pollute the waters.

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Heart strings are taut for plucking - gutsy teenager, awesome riverscape, admirable cause. What could possibly... Don't say that! Everything is vulnerable, even this land we live in, even this film we are watching.

Co-writer/director Zoe Leigh Hopkins clutters the clarity of her concept with too much emotional baggage. Uncle Bear (Evan Adams) has recently died which means the journey is an ashes spinkling affair - too much crying - as well as Ella's grand tour. Also she doesn't go alone. Uncle B's widow, a townie who finds walking on dry land fraught with danger, her teenage son who goes jelly at the sight of a dead animal and her other uncle who has money troubles and likes to think he's the only one who knows anything about everything.

Three subjects are important here - the indigenous voice against capitalism, what the girl believes and natural beauty. Grieving for a saint, coping with his tear sodden widow and drippy stepson, as well as learning to like the older uncle and sympathise with his financial muddle and why he doesn't allow his far more capable wife to sort things out, is what drags the film down.

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2018
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Kayak To Klemtu packshot
A First Nations teenager sets off on a journey, determined to kayak the Inside Passage in British Colombia.

Director: Zoe Leigh Hopkins

Writer: Zoe Leigh Hopkins, Michael Sparaga

Starring: Ta'Kaiya Blaney, Evan Adams, Jared Ager-Foster, Carmel Amit, Sonja Bennett, Tyler Burrows, Lorne Cardinal, Debs Howard, Chris Ippolito, Sarah Kelley, Nelson Leis, Evan Adams, Jared Ager-Foster, Carmel Amit, Sonja Bennett

Year: 2018

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Canada


EIFF 2018

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