SuperGrid (2018)

<strong class="MovieTitle">SuperGrid</strong> (2018)

(On Cable TV, February 2019) One of the perks of being Canadian is a glut of nationally produced content on Cable TV channels. OK, that’s not quite a perk considering the somewhat variable quality of Canadian productions, but at least it gives our media landscape something slightly different from south-of-the-border cinephiles. Anyone with a camera, a pickup, ominous news stock footage and a desolate landscape (plentiful up north) can make a postapocalyptic film and have it qualify for CanCon regulations. I was probably expecting a bit too much from SuperGrid considering that it shares many filmmakers (including director Lowell Dean) with the surprisingly enjoyable Wolfcop movies. Unfortunately, the result far too often hews closely to the clichés of the genre. It’s not bad, but it certainly feels dull most of the time: the idea of environmental collapse, post-apocalyptic road movie through a forbidden zone to find a cure (à la Desolation Alley) all blend into a beige morass of deja vu even when we want to be indulgent about a Canadian Prairie Science Fiction film. This is an age of cheap CGI, so the film’s few successes in that area don’t leave much of a distinction. To be fair, SuperGrid does improve in its second half: When doing familiar material, the best way to distinguish oneself in through small detail and atmosphere, and so when the film does make it to its destination, the highlight on indigenous characters is worth a cheer, although by that time the film’s bleak and humourless approach is likely to have ground down any sharp emotional reactions. Even the more ambitious action set pieces are the very end of the film feel like too little too late, wrapped in too many clichés to be effective. Despite approaching SuperGrid with the most indulgent attitude, I’m left once again disappointed at the homegrown result.

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