North Mountain has what I want to see more in cinema – aboriginal, inter generational LGBT+ love. That doesn’t mean that it’s getting off that easy though. And that’s because a lot of the characters here act arbitrarily. Wolf (Justin Rain) decides, on a whim, to take in a stranger, Crane (Glen Gould). He does so because they speak the same indigenous language. It’s apparently irrelevant that Crane is an ex-con who stole money from a bunch of crooked cops. They also fall in love without the movie establishing romantic chemistry between them. Wolf forsakes everyone for Crane, even neglecting his own grandmother in the process. Nonetheless, said cops show up and try to murder Crane by setting Wolf’s cabin on fire without checking who’s inside. Which is the most careless way to kill someone.
Let’s backtrack a bit. There’s a point when Wolf’s aunt Mona (Meredith MacNeill) warns him to move to town because of a storm. A storm that never comes. Wolf stubbornly insists that he can rely on himself by staying in the cabin, which the cops burn down. Turns out that the cops didn’t kill Crane but instead kill Wolf’s grandmother. She, by the way, is one of two of Wolf’s living family members. Rain is capable in emotionally showing what it’s like to lose more than a regular person should. However, there’s a sadism in making Wolf endure one plot twist after another. It also reinforces his solitude, making him act unbelievably erratic. It’s tiring to watch protagonists disregard supporting characters’ advise. It’s not the only way for North Mountain to keep existing.
North Mountain leads up to both Wolf and Crane turning Rambo on the cops. However, before that happens, Wolf has to endure more revelations. These revelations not only give Rain a chance to act. MacNeill, a comedian, gets to be more dramatic in those scenes too. Nonetheless, these twists don’t just make the connection between Wolf and Crane unbelievable. These scenes also hinder them from doing what they must do. It’s unfortunate to be hard on this movie. It tries to do so much to improve diverse representation in North American cinema. There are a few good or capable Indigenous LGBT films out there. This film isn’t bad because it’s inter generational, it’s the contrivances that make it seem forced. Hopefully this misstep won’t stop director Bretten Hannam or other filmmakers to keep trying.