Cardinals (Grayson Moore, 2017): Canada

Reviewed by Savasia J. Vida at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, 2018.

When Valerie comes home from prison for years, she tries to move on from her crime of killing her neighbor in a drunk driving accident when the neighbor’s son, Mark, comes over to ask her version of her crime. Her daughters, Eleanor and Zoe, attempt to guide Valerie back to how it used to be prior to the accident but Mark becomes that pressing force that intensifies their relationship; he insinuates that Valerie wasn’t drunk when she killed his dad, making the accident actually intentional. However, Mark is unaware of how his dad really was when he was alive.

The film is particular in its locale and setting: Valerie’s house. However, the narration is told by the perspective of Valerie, Eleanor and Zoe with a main emphasis on Valerie’s. With a limited locale, it reveals that the plot time is condensed within a couple days, making the complications happen back-to-back. By making the story unfold quickly, it dramatizes the actions and decisions of the characters.

Cardinals does a great job in immediately addressing the complication of the characters in the first several scenes and doesn’t waste anytime in revealing the unforeseen instances following Mark’s arrival at Valerie’s house.

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