NS reviews

Reviews of theatre and art in Nova Scotia and beyond

Bone Cage: powerful, dark tale of rural N.S. at FIN

Taylor Olson stars in Bone Cage, his first feature, streaming to Sept. 27 through FIN Atlantic International Film Festival. The festival has extended its streaming dates, except for Gala Presentations, due to rain and wind from the storm Teddy.

Bone Cage is a chilling, 89-minute film about a blighted, rural anti-hero in a small Nova Scotia town.

As Taylor Olson’s first feature, it is a landmark film, screening online now to Sept. 27 through FIN Stream (Atlantic International Film Festival).

Like David Adams Richards’ novels, Bone Cage exists in an Atlantic Canadian ethos of poetry and poverty, crushed dreams and doomed lives.

The film stars its Halifax director and writer Taylor Olson in an unforgettable performance as Jamie.

Jamie is a high-school dropout who clear cuts the forests near his home town. The soul-destroying job is at odds with his love for trees, sky and birds.

This movie, adapted by Olson from the play by Nova Scotia playwright Catherine Banks, starts when Jamie is about to marry a lively, lovely and loving teenager, beautifully portrayed by Ursula Calder.

Calder crafts a creature of sunshine and innocence – as fragile as the birds Jamie saves from his machinery.

Wrapped up in self-hatred and hoping to escape to a new job out West, Jamie takes his anger and despair out on those closest to him including his best friend Kevin, in an intense, memorable performance by Sam Vigneault, and his older sister (Amy Groening), who also seeks escape from their dreary home and father (Christian Murray).

Set at a time before cellphones, Jamie lives in a male, working-class world. He is a beer drinker and a chain smoker. His community is a rundown one with brawlers and parents who are too despondent to care about their kids.

Working with cinematographer Kevin A. Fraser, Olson directs the film in tight shots to focus on the faces and movements of his characters. The viewer often feels as caged as Jamie.

The poetry – which is key to Banks’s writing – lies is in the visual imagery. Even Olson’s hair is a character. The sweep and fall of the actor’s blond hair hides Jamie; it symbolizes his messy life and it gets in the way when others want to see him.

Bone Cage involves flashbacks that are key to its surprise ending. Occasionally this film lacks clarity and dimension. Overall, it is deeply affecting and entirely authentic.

Produced by Melani Wood and also being screened online now at the Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival, Bone Cage was to be FIN streamed until midnight Sept. 24. However, the storm Teddy has changed all that.

FIN Stream today announced a three-day extension for online events happening now. All non-gala films originally available from Sept. 17 to 24 along with the REEL EAST COAST SHORTS GALA on Sept. 23 will be extended with access until Sunday, Sept. 27, at 11:59 p.m. (All other gala presentations maintain their original access dates.)

According to a press release, all films are subject to original capacity limits; new ticket purchases are only be possible until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24.

FIN Stream Customer Service will continue to operate on Friday, September 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday, Sept. 26 – 27 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Customer service can be reached at 902-332-1530, by email at boxoffice@finfestival.ca and also in FINpedia at http://www.finfestival.ca via webchat. For more information go to finfestival.ca

Due to COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 Festival is entirely online with FIN Stream.

Categories: Uncategorized

1 reply


  1. Bone Cage reviews – Taylor Olson

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