With itstale of two misfits who improbably bond in a snowbound small town, Snow Caketakes a surefire formula and delivers a gently crowd-pleasing
A sweetlyintrospective execution, it marks a signal departure for British director MarcEvans, cranking the stylistics down several notches after his psychologicalthrillers My Little Eye and Trauma.
Despite alikeable, more than solid, performance by Alan Rickman
The filmbegins with taciturn Englishman Alex Hughes (Rickman) flying into NorthernOntario, planning to drive to Winnipeg. At a diner he's accosted by a talkativeteenager, Vivienne (an extremely mannered Emily Hampshire), who asks for alift.
Just as Alexis beginning to warm to her abrasively kooky presence, the film throws acurveball by having a truck crash into Alex's car, killing his passenger.
Grief andguilt-stricken, Alex
At first,Linda's tetchy, seemingly unaffected reaction to his presence baffles him, buthe soon learns that she is autistic, and her obsessive-compulsive traits moreor less oblige Alex to move in with her until after Vivienne's funeral.
As he stays,more and more eccentric facets of the sometimes child-like Linda emerge
Unwilling toleave Linda alone until her elderly parents return from holiday, Alex settlesinto her claustrophobic house and meets some of the other Wawaites
Once Alexarrives in Wawa, the film is driven more by character than by narrative, andmaintains a peculiarly claustrophobic atmosphere: the action is largely boundby interiors, broken by faintly postcard-like shots of lakeside landscapes.
Unobtrusivelyfilmed for the most part
The film's mainflaw is that Angela Pell's script, though sometimes pleasantly acidic, oftenlays on the quirkiness with a trowel. Herself the mother of an autistic child,Pell clearly knows her subject, but Linda's abundance of whimsical obsessionsprovides far too much opportunity for Weaver to overplay the part, in a waythat
Snow Cake cantry far too hard to charm its audience with its droll or poetic conceits: thescene where Alex and Linda play Scrabble with invented words, and Lindaimprovises a superhero story to illustrate one such coining, is especiallymawkish.
Offsettingall this preciousness is the dignified dry reserve of Rickman, who lends hischaracter a note of weary sanity and makes him plausible - although it's hardto believe in the melodramatic and crushingly coincidental back story that Alexis lumbered with.
So far ason-screen chemistry goes, Rickman seems happier opposite Moss than oppositeWeaver, and indeed Moss's sane, spiky Maggie is one of the film's plus points.
While Evansfails to draw any special subtleties out from his material, his generally mutedexecution at least keeps the whimsy within manageable bounds.
Otherwise,Snow Cake is the sort of sweetly eccentric small-town story
A, sometimes,obtrusive mainstream-rock soundtrack sees Welsh director Evans patrioticallysupporting bands from back home, including Stereophonics and Super FurryAnimals.