The Valley Below evokes life in Alberta badlands

The Valley Below

Where: Vic Theatre

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When: Tonight, 8:45 p.m.

Rating: 3/5 stars


What happens in Drumheller, stays in Drumheller? Nope. This is a good thing, since the four stories writer-director Kyle Thomas has unearthed from Alberta’s badlands, interwoven into an authentic, well-acted evocation of small-town life, suggests we’ll be hearing a lot more from this talented filmmaker.

There’s a gritty realism to his film’s small-scale stories, which focus on characters including a scruffy musician and Zamboni driver whose alcoholism has deep-sixed his marriage; an ambitious young woman who learns she’s pregnant; an introverted taxidermist with a failing marriage; and a deceptively innocent police constable.

Although his vignettes are uneven in tone and dramatic heft, Thomas has some interesting things to say about the fragility of family.

He also makes terrific use of central Alberta’s shifting rural landscapes over four seasons, and the music he uses in this modest but involving portrait of rural life is a character in itself.

READ MORE ›› Victoria Film Festival

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