TIFF Next Wave ’17: Our Review of ‘1:54’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF Next Wave 17 by - February 22, 2017
TIFF Next Wave ’17: Our Review of ‘1:54’

I don’t know whether or not Yan England giving his protagonist more than one struggle counts as nuance. But I’ll take it. His new film 1:54 has Tim Fortin. The Quebecois character gets his share of bullying but he’s also a track star in high school. The film amply shows both sides of the character’s life.

Through track, Tim (Antoine Olivier Pilon) can show his dedication. It shows audiences that millennials can work hard for something they love. The bullying against him serves as the opposing energy to that. His schoolmates pull pranks on him and record his humiliation for others to see in all of perpetuity.

Tim has a good support system like his coach and his teammates. But the film shows us the finite nature of how strong support can be. England and Pilon understands that negativity seems stronger than positive people. And being on the receiving end of bullying is a solitary journey.

I’ve already said good things about Pilon, known to most audiences as the teenager in Mommy. But this time he gets to play a real human being. He was 19 when he was making this film but he shows the vulnerability of being a teenager. He conjures adolescence’s fresh wounds.

Tim’s adversary is Jeff (Lou-Pascal Tremblay). He initially doesn’t fight back against Jeff, even watching his teammate Jen (Monsieur Lazhar‘s Sophie Nelisse) do that for him. But Jeff, a relentless sociopath, pesters him and his best friend Francis (Robert Naylor).

Nelisse’s Jen is one of the film’s weaker links but that’s not herfault. She plays both cheerleader and beard to Tim. This makes me wonder why a film relegated an actress with her potential to a thankless role. It is up to Pilon to carry the film with his capable hands.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.