“Firecrackers,” Jasmin Mozaffari’s astonishingly confident (and perfectly named) debut feature, opens with a flare of fury and ends on a note of anxious optimism. What happens between is often sensed more than spoken: This is a movie that, like its characters, is more fluent in feelings than in words.
That initial fury belongs to Lou (a fierce Michaela Kurimsky), 17 years old and with a temperament to match her flaming hair. Fists flying, she lays into a foulmouthed acquaintance, but her anger seems surplus to the circumstances. What she’s really raging against is a dying town too small to contain her, which is why she and her best friend, Chantal (Karena Evans), have saved their wages from cleaning motel rooms. Tomorrow, they will take off for New York City; tonight, they celebrate.
Shot by Catherine Lutes in a tumult of skin and hair and bleached-out surroundings, this scrappy Canadian drama (filmed in small-town Ontario) crackles and pops. There’s an animalistic desperation to the performances and camerawork that nudges the theme of escape into one of survival itself. Stifling between lowering skies and the pale earth of parking lots where jerks and losers lurk, the young women seem constantly under threat.
“I feel like I can’t breathe,” Chantal says at one point. And as the women’s poor decisions draw violence, and their meager savings are imperiled by feckless adults and a toxic ex-boyfriend, Mozaffari shackles poverty to misogyny with ruthless deliberation.
Sliding in tone from ferocity to joy to a numbed hopelessness, “Firecrackers” presents young bodies as currency in the games of dangerous drifters. Here, all the men may not be monsters, but all the monsters are definitely men.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes.
Movie data powered by IMDb.com
Source: Read Full Article