First-time feature director Bruce Spangler makes only mildly compelling cinema from his experiences as a B.C. social worker in “Protection.” Grungy-looking drama about a child welfare officer caught between a thankless case and her personal problems will find its biggest audience on the small screen.
Cold, green color palette, handheld camerawork and doculike focus pulls give much of the picture the feel of captured incidents as Canuck social worker Jane (Nancy Sivak) tackles a case of a druggie mother (Jillian Fargey), her abusive, ex-con husband (William MacDonald) and two kids. Climaxing in a standoff between the parents, who don’t want the children taken into care, and Jane and a cop she’s called in, film decorates an essentially small incident with details of Jane’s personal life as she has a heart-to-heart with her lover (Hiro Kanagawa). Performances are solid enough, and helmer’s play with time frames maintains interest, but at only 77 minutes pic feels like a script in need of further development to work as a dramatic feature. Blow-up from 16mm adds to the gritty flavor.