Though screenwriter Michael Melski's chronicle of a mental breakdown is sometimes clichéd, director Andrew Currie elicits harrowing performances from stars Michael Riley and Connor Widdows.
Devoted to marriage and fatherhood, neurotic Derek (Riley) doesn’t cope well with separation from his wife, Allison (Sabrina Grdevich), and son, Will (Connor Widdows). Though Allison once found Derek’s obsessiveness attractive, she pursues a more stable relationship with Peter (Erik Breker). As Derek’s self-esteem collapses, he stalks his child at elementary school and even goes so far as to install a surveillance device in Will’s computer. When Pete proves himself a capable live-in stepfather, Derek steps up his painfully misguided efforts to win back his family. Derek accuses Pete of molestation, but the ploy fails: Allison happens to have been standing outside Will's bedroom door at the time of the supposed crime. So Derek simply kidnaps Will, picking him up at school for an unscheduled road trip. Although Will becomes homesick once the novelty wears off, Derek insists that they are going to live off the land in the Canadian Rockies. Will begins to realize there's something seriously wrong with his father: The slightest hitch makes Derek blow his top, and after they're chased away from an off-site area by a park ranger, Derek bashes the guard with a flashlight. Fearful that his dad has gone off the deep end, the youngster even tries to drive Derek’s car away from their campground. As the paranoid Derek’s pipe dream collapses, it becomes clear that he might be capable of harming the son he loves so desperately.
Not since CLEAN SHAVEN (1993) has an actor had such a field day peeling off the skin of an unraveling personality. Riley and Widdows brilliantly enact the father-son meltdown, but Riley’s technical skill sometimes eclipses his character's delusional tailspin.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: Though screenwriter Michael Melski's chronicle of a mental breakdown is sometimes clichéd, director Andrew Currie elicits harrowing performances from stars Michael Riley and Connor Widdows. Devoted to marriage and fatherhood, neurotic Derek (Riley) doe… (more)