Canadian Film Fest 2019 Review: “Duck Duck Goose” (2018) ★★★★

A friend once told me that they’re tired of being frisked by security personnel at the airport due to the tough security measures. They exclaimed, “Why should I remove my shoes all the time?” Another one would complain about the belt that must be removed as well. The problem is that bad people do horrible things. They kill people, blow up airplanes, while some others do something unthinkable – go to the most vulnerable place on earth to take the life of those who are yet to witness the true beauty of life – kindergarten or school.

Written and directed by Shelley Thompson, “Duck Duck Goose” is perhaps the most shocking and terrifyingly real film that tells the story of any parent’s worse nightmare. It’s early morning, the teacher (Francince Deschepper) in the class is teaching alphabets to the kids. All are happy. Suddenly, the voice of a woman is heard through the speaker warning about Duck Duck Goose. It’s a secret code that indicates the school must go on lockdown. The teacher begins playing the game with children to ease their fear. It’s the moment when all are being locked in a hiding place, while one student who’s left outside of the room asks for someone to let her in. It’s up to the teacher to decide to open the door or not? Either decision can be devastating – whether to save one life or risk losing more.

It’s incredible that it took six minutes for writer/director Shelley Thompson to tell such an incredible yet devastating story many kids are going through every year. Whether it was Columbine High School massacre, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Forest High School, and many more, the reality of “Duck Duck Goose” is even more heartbreaking when the kids at such a young age must fear for their life or being locked in a room expecting something horrible to happen. And that alone is enough to grade Thompson’s attempt as most impactful, truthful, and descriptive.

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