An official selection of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival®, and winner of the SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film, Jason Buxton’s debut feature packs a heavy punch. In an era of heightened anxiety over cyber-bullying and school violence, Blackbird offers a disturbing and perceptive look at the culture of fear that has arisen in the wake of Columbine
and other horrific school shootings — a pervasive paranoia that reads typical teen angst and alienation as the stirrings of murderous intent.
Newly arrived to live with the father he barely knows in the small town of Eastport, brooding Sean Randall (Connor Jessup) is the solitary goth at his school. He has nothing in common with his rifle-collecting dad Ricky (Michael Buie), and has little interest in the hunting outings Ricky sees as opportunities for bonding. When Sean forms an unlikely friendship with pretty, popular Deanna
(Alexia Fast), it leads to a menacing confrontation with her hockey-player boyfriend Cory (Craig Arnold). Fearing for his safety, Sean makes an offhand, posturing threat against Cory online. From that moment on, everything changes.
Igniting a firestorm of fears, Sean’s message leads to a raid on his home, where the police not only discover Sean’s supposed “hit list” but Ricky’s stockpile of hunting rifles, knives, and ammunition. Accused of planning a school massacre, Sean is remanded into custody at a tough youth prison to await trial. Though innocent, he is pressured by his lawyer to plead guilty in order to shorten his time in detention and to avoid a lengthy trial. He does so and is released, only to endure an even tougher sentence: to carry on living in the same community that has labelled him a psychopath.
With nightmarish logic, Buxton’s gripping drama shows how a sequence of poor
choices, aggravated by a climate of fear, overreaction and overzealousness, can lead to incalculable repercussions. Bolstered by an outstanding group of up-and-coming young actors, Blackbird captures the exacerbated confusion of adolescence in an era of media-fuelled frenzy.
Director: Jason Buxton
Cast: Connor Jessup, Alexia Fast and Michael Buie
Runtime: 103 minutes
Distributor: Agency 71
ON NR /
BC NR /
AB NR /
SK NR /
MB NR /
QC NR /