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Niagara Motel

  • Film

Time Out says

Set in and around a clapped-out motel on the Canadian side of the Falls, marginally more hospitable than the one run by Norman Bates, this wannabe Altmanesque comic drama has big ambitions for its small budget, but requires a lighter, defter touch than director Gary Yates – who name-checks Robert Altman and PT Anderson in the press notes – either exhibits or strives for.

The script revolves around eight characters, each in the midst of their own personal crisis. Among them are widowed pregnant waitress Loretta (Caroline Dhavernas), who is torn between Dave (Tom Barnett), a dippy staple seller, two-bit sleazeball Michael (Kevin Pollack), who’s keen to ship her off to Tokyo and have her do porn, and the baby’s father Gilles (Normand Daneaua). Then there are middle-class marrieds Henry (Peter Keleghan) and Lily (Wendy Crewson), on the brink of bankruptcy and breakdown following the former’s recent redundancy; and Denise (Anna Friel), a recovering junkie desperate to retrieve her daughter from foster care. The screenplay, adapted from a series of six plays by George F Walker, is either too self-consciously quirky – why Loretta’s husband had to have been killed by a bear is anyone’s guess – downright dour or woefully unfunny ever to fully engage.

Of the capable ensemble, Friel’s frantic, intense mother and Crewson’s once proud Lily, reduced to seeking career advice from the hooker next door in order to secure some quick cash, are the standouts. By the end, though, you’ll most likely be sympathising with Craig Ferguson’s mournful motel caretaker, still reeling from a tragic incident on his honeymoon years before, who walks out into Niagara’s freezing waters, unable to take it any more.
Written by MS

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 11 November 2005
  • Duration:105 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Gary Yates
  • Screenwriter:Dani Romain, George F. Walker
  • Cast:
    • Damir Andrei
    • Wendy Crewson
    • Peter Keleghan
    • Kevin Pollack
    • Caroline Dhavenas
    • Craig Ferguson
    • Anna Friel
    • Kristen Holden-Reid
    • Tom Barnett
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