As Canadian independent films go, Blood Pressure (RPL, 7pm) has a lot going for it: A strong protagonist (Michelle Giroux), a cinematographer with ideas as opposed to resources, and an absorbing set-up straight out of The Twilight Zone. It’s unfortunate the script gives up half way through and the movie sputters to reach an unsatisfying conclusion.
You know you have a problem when anonymous letters are the least of your problems. Nicole (Giroux) can’t find satisfaction anywhere, not at work, at home or in bed. Fueled by her discontent, Nicole tacitly agrees to be courted by a secret admirer, who showers her with gifts and gives the attention she craves. Soon enough, the presents are accompanied with requests, fairly innocent in the beginning, but of increasing complexity. A newly empowered Nicole follows through, crossing lines she never thought she would.
Winnipeg-based director Sean Garrity (My Awkward Sexual Adventure) does a good job making Nicole’s conundrum compelling, and up to the big reveal, we are right there with her. Alas, the main twist happens way too early in the film, and the developments that follow are farfetched and not nearly as interesting. Doesn’t help that Nicole’s family is cartoonishly unpleasant and rather flat to be part of her dilemma.
Blood Pressure deals with the usual challenges independent Canadian cinema faces. Looks like a full-fledged movie (better than some Telefilm-backed endeavors) and manages to accentuate Toronto’s hostile indifference. Michelle Giroux is a major find and holds the movie together when starts going off the rails. The supporting cast, however, is not great and some characters are severely miscast (a bulky twentysomething Degrassi alum is supposed to be a scrawny high school senior.)
Regardless the film’s shortcoming, there is some serious talent here that shouldn’t go to waste. Two and a half prairie dogs in full middle age crisis.