Nurse. Fighter. Boy (2008)

February 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

I often think a director like Quentin Tarantino has so much style, people confuse it with substance. It’s refreshing to see a film that’s something of a rarity — both style and meaning, even it may not achieve the level of popularity Tarantino enjoys.

A Canadian film, Nurse. Fighter. Boy is a simple story, well told. Much like a Tarantino film, the music selected seems to perfectly support and enhance the film, and it’s easy enough to see this from the trailer. But this is a film that, while a little slow-moving, has more than enough to keep the viewer engaged. Jude (Karen LeBlanc) suffers from sickle-cell anemia, and has a close relationship with her thoughtful son Ciel (Daniel J Gordon). When Jude meets a middle-aged, seemingly weary boxer named Silence (Clark Johnson), things begin to change. Great performances from all three leads, a strong score and sense of style all breathe life into what might have been too simplistic and uninteresting a story. One scene in particular springs to mind — a scene tinted in blue, but a character plays with a red handkerchief. Visual flashbacks and sudden close-ups with an almost documentary feel to them help to bring the viewer closer to characters, sometimes even peripheral ones.

There’s some room for interpretation, but I saw it as a film about parenting, and the different role models that eventually influence and inhabit one person. Even the title stacks the characters up, two of them by occupation (one caring, one protecting) before it finally lists the boy. But whatever you take from the film, it’s certainly worth seeing. If nothing else, see it as an antidote to those films that are the equivalent of someone who walks into the room well-dressed, but with nothing to say.

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