Nose to Tail (Zigelstein, 2018): Canada

Reviewed by Matheus Clorado. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2019.

Image result for nose to tail movie aaron abrams

Sweat, blood and tears. That’s the dance Canadian actor Aaron Abrams (Hannibal) signed up for in this inside-out portrait of a temperamental chef on the edge of losing his acclaimed restaurant.

Written and directed by Jesse Zigelstein, who worked previously on ABC’s Private Practice, the plot here is carefully schemed to move the protagonist from a bad situation to an even worse one, creating constantly increasing levels of tension and anxiety as the story progresses.

Zigelstein and Abrams first invite the audience to meet chef Daniel and his immediate issues and responsibilities. Not too later on, what seemed like a visit to a troubled professional’s regular day quickly becomes a thrilling ride to what’s really happening inside this struggler’s head.

Nose to Tail enhances its dramatic themes with cinematic psychology. The visual metaphors are many, and even if a viewer misses it, a reader won’t. The movie is convincing and dense. Its score could’ve relied a bit more on a suspenseful and/or darker atmosphere as it was a bit light for a few scenes.

There’s no doubt this is a launcher for Jesse Zigelstein’s directing career after already two successful film festivals. He achieved the difficult endeavor of turning a questionably likable protagonist into a suffering human one would like to see thrive. And he did it by butchering a chef right in his kitchen. Voilà!

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