Canadian Film Festival 2016 Review: “Across the Line” (2015) ★★★★


Racial discrimination has always been a painful subject to talk about. Not to mention the torturous feeling you have to experience as you watch a film that touches the same subject. ACROSS THE LINE directed by Director X. brings us to North Preston, Nova Scotia, Canada’s Largest Black Community where one hopes to rise above the prejudices, while the others try to clip the wings of the one who wishes to have a better life. In the end, it’s all about the color of the skin, that somehow ill-minded people still care about most.

Mattie Slaughter is a young, black NHL hopeful living in a racially divided community of Nova Scotia. In order to have a career prospect, he had to stay away from troubles as much as possible. So he does. But the fear and the success a young white man, Todd (Denis Theriault) sees in Mattie, does not allow him to rest his mind, as he continues to assault him as much as he can. But the problem is, Mattie has his own issues at home that pretty much adds up another problem to his already troubled life – his brother, Carter.

When the film begins, we find Mattie (Stephan James, RACE, SELMA) training, as he skates through his dreams, hoping to become the first black Nova Scotian to make it to NHL. He works twice as hard and plays better than his teammates. Soon after, his coach comes to his house to discuss his future as a hockey player, and all the support he is willing to provide Mattie. However, every time when Mattie goes to school, he finds himself surrounded by racist students, and one of them is Todd, extremely violent man from a rich family.

As the story unfolds, you find more aggressive-minded students in almost every scene, while Mattie develops a special bond with Jayme (Sarah Jeffery, SHADES OF BLUE) who seems is the only one who keeps her mind sane in an out-of-control community. But soon Mattie will learn that his dream is still alive. It’s right around the corner and waits for him to take it. It’s up to him now to chose any way he feels comfortable… After all, who you are today is who you’ll be tomorrow. And soon, Mattie will learn that.

The screenplay written by Floyd Kane highlights the most important part of the racial issues young people face. It gives a possibility to actors to have their own perspective of the story, which is a main case in ACROSS THE LINE. Stephan James who recently appeared in RACE delivers the same caliber of a performance, which can’t make you more happier. Even Sarah Jeffery reads well her Jayme, as her confidence grows throughout film.

In conclusion, ACROSS THE LINE is well-directed drama that once again reveals the racial issue where you can clearly see with the naked eye that it’s never been about the community that divided racially, but the world, that has never been so diverse. And it’s all because of us people who allowed this to happen. Will we ever be able to learn from our previous mistakes is hard to tell, but I know one thing, ACROSS THE LINE is the film that you must see due to the importance of its subject.

Screening time:

Saturday, April 2, 2016

8:15pm 10:15pm

The Royal Cinema

For full programming and schedule click here.

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