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TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Review: CLOSET MONSTER (2015) ★★★★


To pick the right concept for a film is everything in the huge and versatile world of cinema. This is why each filmmaker must know how to present it in the first place before being given a green light to the idea. Stephen Dunn is a young and talented filmmaker who seems to not only knew how to write a complex story, but have inexplicable sources of information, perhaps, extracted from somewhere deep in his mind to conclude in such a creative way. You probably will read various synopses for this film, but one thing you may not find anywhere, but only after watching this brilliant film: in order to set yourself free from the monster that hides in your closet all your life, you must find the cause that created it, and lock it for good. And once you do that, you will be able to set yourself free.

“Closet Monster” begins with little Oscar, who is shocked hearing that his mother is leaving his father. Being angry and unable to control his emotions, a boy allows himself a bit more freedom to express his anger the way you don’t usually see in a little child. Meantime, he finds himself surrounded by his father, who tells him violent stories, and shows how to hit him with hand-made wooden knife. However, the incident that occurs in a cemetery defines his future that makes him difficult to find a way out of his past. As he grows bigger, the monsters he tried to escape grew older and bigger, causing him more internal troubles that slowly spread out to people who he cared about.

Oscar is a creative and driven teenager who is desperate to escape his hometown. However, it’s his past that tries to haunt him down. In search of his identity, Oscar gets help from an unusual creature, a hamster, Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini). Meanwhile, his friendship with Wilder (Aliocha Schneider) is what makes him look at himself from a different perspective, where he starts discovering a world never known to him before.  Connor Jessup`s incredibly confident performance allows you to see Oscar in every way possible to give you an idea about what might come next.

“Closet Monster” is a cleverly made film and its complexity is even more fascinating than you can imagine. Right from the beginning you are captivated by the dark atmosphere created by the young filmmaker, giving a promising start. Moreover, it has no gap or missing point to complain about. The entire cast delivers a solid performance, bringing up this indie film into a whole different level. It certainly has its point as well, about how to escape or resolve the problem being created somewhere in the past. But hiding from it is never a solution, but facing it is what matter most.

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