There isn’t one major problem with David Bezmozgis’ piece Victory Day. Except that it’s just boring. And a little confusing. But I’m guessing if you like hockey, you might find it a little more entertaining. I’d like to embrace Canadian film, but this isn’t helping things.
With the long Victoria Day weekend signaling the end of school, and the Stanley Cup playoffs afoot, the summer of 1988 arrives in Toronto. Ben Spector (Mark Rendall), a smart, sensitive kid from a Russian immigrant family, hits the Bob Dylan show with his buddies and runs into Jordan Chapman, the class prick and Ben’s tormentor on the ice-hockey rink. Jordan is five dollars shy of a nice bag of weed, and Ben begrudgingly spots him the dough. But the next day, Jordan fails to show up at school or hockey practice. With days passing and Jordan’s whereabouts a mystery, Ben finds himself in an uncomfortable predicament, especially when a romance with Jordan’s sister (Holly Deveaux) tentatively blooms in the midst of the ordeal.
The film wanders around, sometimes exploring Ben’s sexual awakening, sometimes just watching his hockey team scrimmage… for minutes on end, sometimes blabbering on about Bob Dylan. Ugh. There’s not a clear plot, or narrative, so the ending that wasn’t really an ending wasn’t completely unexpected. Most of the actors were teenagers, and clearly not very accomplished actors. Sometimes to the point of distraction. The film was in English and Russian, and this interesting language dynamic provided the most entertainment. As I mentioned early, the biggest flaw of this movie is just that it’s boring. At a short 91 minutes, it felt much longer. There’s not much to miss with this one.