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Review: ‘Broken Mile’ is literally a non-stop thriller (Includes first-hand account)

One of the side effects of being an addict is you can’t always remember what happened while you were under the influence. Sobering can raise a lot of questions related to where you are, who you’re with and what transpired that led to current circumstances. Unfortunately, depending on the company you keep during these sessions, they may not be able to provide any answers. The resulting confusion is bewildering and occasionally dangerous as in Broken Mile, when one character awakens to the worst possible discovery.

Shaun (Francesco Filice) is a little more than a social drug user, so when he wakes up in a stupor at a Sarah’s (Lea Lawrynowicz) house he rolls with it. However, when he eventually discovers his friend dead on the sofa, his panic is overwhelming. Without calling for an ambulance, he flees the scene and seeks refuge at Amy’s (Caleigh Le Grand) even though they haven’t spoken for months. But Sarah’s boyfriend, Kenny (Patrick McFadden), is looking for Shaun and no one is certain about how much he knows — only that he’s upset and possibly violent. The chase leads them around the city, but running is exhausting and it definitely doesn’t solve anything.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the film is it’s presented as one continuous take, appearing to never cut away from the action. From the moment Shaun wakes up, the camera is always with at least one of the characters as they progress through the narrative. It’s quite an impressive feat considering the number of location changes and nearly continuous movement of the characters. Moreover, if there was a need to cut at some point over the 82 minutes, it’s completely undetectable. The only downside to this approach are a few lengthy, uneventful car rides in either personal vehicles or Ubers.

The other remarkable element of the story is it unfolds in real-time with the increasing intensity of a ticking-clock narrative even though there is no time limit. As the characters rush across town to each other or try to evade Kenny, the urgency of their situation and the need to find a non-bloody solution seems to become ever more important — not to mention there’s still a dead body requiring attention.

The many hats writer/director/editor/cinematographer Justin McConnell wears on this production affords him total control, which results in a seamlessly well-constructed thriller. The film, formerly titled Red Mile, screened at the Canadian Film Fest in Toronto.

Director: Justin McConnell
Starring: Francesco Filice, Caleigh Le Grand and Patrick McFadden

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Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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