If there’s one lesson Hollywood seems to have forgotten, it’s that sometimes the simple things in life are the best. October Gale is a prime example of how enjoyable a thriller can be without overcomplicating the plot with red herrings or twist after endless twist.
The simple plot plays with uncertainty rather than trickery but the cast is excellent and the mood is edgy, particularly with Mischa Chillak’s killer musical score which adds enormously to whole experience.
Writer/Director Ruba Nadda keeps to the point, moving the plot forward without too much character development or side plots. The closest she comes to this is the occasion flashback to widow Helen Matthews’ (Patricia Clarkson) life with her loving husband James (Callum Keith Rennie).
Isolating herself in their island escape more than a year after her husband’s death, Matthews’ peace is quickly interrupted by the arrival of handsome gunshot victim, William (Scott Speedman). Patching him up, she soon learns that he’s lead the assassins straight to her door but an oncoming storm has cut all communications and any chance of escape from the island.
The film also features Tim Roth as Tom, who is seeking his revenge on William. His reasons are the main mystery and, with William so reluctant to explain why he’s being hunted, the film plays with the ambiguity of who might be the bad guy.
Cougars will be delighted by the romantic distraction between the two main characters that doesn’t take up too much screen time, but set up Matthews’ need to protect her wounded knight beyond any motherly concern.
The resolution to October Gale is the biggest let down, falling flat and coming far too easy after building to it the whole film. The very final scene also stretches the imagination. This is no Agatha Christie but viewed as a tense drama instead of a thriller, it’s smooth and enjoyable without taxing the brain.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 6
October Gale will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 23 March 2016.