Canadian Film Fest 2021: Our Review of ‘The Corruption of Divine Providence’

Canadian Film Fest 2021: Our Review of ‘The Corruption of Divine Providence’

Filmed and set in Manitoba, in the fictional small town of St. Michel where everyone appears to be fluently bilingual, The Corruption of Divine Providence keeps one foot in the Indigenous community with its central family being of Metis descent. But the film also delves into the supernatural and dogma of Catholicism, as well as marital issues, Reservation politics, and many other subplots. If it sounds like it’s trying to cover a lot, it’s because it is.

Jeanne Seraphin (Ali Skovbye) is rushed to the hospital, covered in blood, with injuries that resemble those of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. Known as stigmata, the events draw the attention of the community and world abroad, especially since Jeanne’s injuries appear to heal overnight. Jeanne’s alcoholic father Loius (David La Haye) sees an opportunity to cash in and pits the local clergy (Paul Amos) vs American swindler/preacher Peter Wolf (Corey Sevier) to raise her price.

And that summary only covers just less than half of all the plot and subplot’s crammed into this 93 minutes feature, of which writer/director Jeremy Torrie only bothers to resolve about half. The multitude of attempted narrative choices pulls away from the main story and leaves the audience with a confusing, disjointed, and sometimes frustrating mess and leaves the main story and characters feeling very underserved.

The cast for the most part is actually engaging here, which saves the film from being an insufferable bore, though some decisions may be suspect. Separately, Levesque and La Haye do very solid work here. But the scenes where they act together fall flat, lacking chemistry between the pair, especially when they argue. The chemistry between mother/daughter is perhaps the strongest but Skovbye just looks lost when she’s on her own. But with this script, I can’t say I blame her.

Kirk Haviland
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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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