The ecosystems of islands, by nature, are self-sufficient biological communities that, sans the intrusion of man’s foolish nature, can survive and thrive for an eternity. Man, on the other hand, is not an island; man is a social animal that withers and dies in their Don Quixote quest for independence. Autonomy doesn’t grant self-worth, but self-loathing.
And the Brothers McAuley of Prince Edward Island — the eldest Nicky, the troubled middle child Jordie, and the cooler-passionate youngest Noah — are about to learn a geographical lesson in futility.
The not-so-Musketeers are led by the bullish Nicky, a man-child who hasn’t learned the craft of thinking before he lets his tempers flare. Jordie is a semi-pro hockey star who runs from life’s responsibilities for the ice and comes to discover the “lone wolf” approach to life simply doesn’t work. Noah, for the most part, escaped his father Doug’s alcoholism to mature into a somewhat well-adjusted, approachable free spirit. When Jordie’s propensity in taking out his frustrations on the ice result in his being kicked off his team for fighting, he has no place to go other than home. And while forgiveness lingers in the mists, family resentments towards the hell the now-recovered father Doug’s drinking brewed, lies within the fogs of the past.
This powerful, dramatic feature-film debut regarding the trials and tribulations of family from from writer-director Susan Rogers encapsulates her passions for her Malpeque Bay, Prince Edward Island home; an adoration encapsulated by Cinematographer Christopher Ball (Black Swan; second unit on Aquaman, multiple episodes of SyFy’s Haven). Courtesy of Ball’s experienced eye for crafting shots for his first-time director, Roger’s debut film accomplishes what most movies do not: create a character out of a location.
There’s an err in screenwriting where neophyte writers are of the opinion that characters (if properly written, aren’t “characters” with “motivation”; they’re people with emotions) must speak by words; forgetting that we, as people, communicate silently 70 to 93 percent of the time via facial expressions and body language. A character in a screenplay is a person who drives a plot and inspires other characters, in the effort to create drama. Locations — even objects with a close connection to a person — that inspire and influence characters and drive the plot, also work as “characters” (that’s my opinion and I am sticking to it). Susan Rogers, through her usage of the history and beauty of Prince Edward Island, understands this little-used fact of screenwriting to make the island sing its siren song to the McAuley brothers.
A lesser writer would have had the patriarch-father die and, through a will or some type of legal or heirloom McGuffin, put the three brothers into a cross-country road movie-to-catharsis. We’ve been there on that expanse of asphalt and done that white line fever, ad nauseam. Roger’s debut is a road movie without the road trope; a film where man learns to function as part of an island’s ecosystem and learns how self-sufficiency comes from the reliance of the other and each other.
After completing a successful theatrical and streaming-run in its native Canada, Still the Water is fresh off an equally successful series of U.S. festival showings. It is now available as a free-with-ads stream in North American courtesy of Indie Rights Movies on Tubi TV.
Other recent releases from the Indie Rights Films catalog we’ve reviewed include A Band of Rogues, Banging Lanie, Blood from Stone, The Brink (Edge of Extinction), Chasing the Rain, Double Riddle, The Girls of Summer, Gozo, Loqueesha, and Making Time.
Disclaimer: We did not receive a review request for this film from its director, distributor, or P.R firm. We discovered the trailer on social media, were intrigued by the film, and we truly enjoyed the film.