Review: ‘Past Perfect’

An almost perfectly uninteresting feature directorial debut for Canadian actor-playwright Daniel MacIvor, "Past Perfect" dissects the boring relationship of two characters who, from the start, aren't meant for each other -- or in the man's case, for anyone.

An almost perfectly uninteresting feature directorial debut for Canadian actor-playwright Daniel MacIvor, “Past Perfect” dissects the boring relationship of two characters who, from the start, aren’t meant for each other — or in the man’s case, for anyone. Pic is part of exec producer Christopher Zimmer’s “3A & 3C” series of films built around a Dogma-like set of rules, most pertaining to leads’ meeting as airline seatmates. Resulting tedious trip will likely fly only on home-turf broadcast.

MacIvor plays Cecil, a rude, snobby professor of linguistics (enabling some pretentious dialogue stretches) flying from Halifax to Vancouver; gardening expert Charlotte (Rebecca Jenkins) is his seatmate. After some initial, irritable exchanges, they warm up, discovering each has just left a failed affair. This coast-to-coast interlude is intercut with events two years later, when duo’s now live-in coupledom is coming apart in the wake of her miscarriage and his relapsed alcoholism. But there’s no rooting interest in their joyless union at any point, and drab low-budget, vid-shot production drains further life from helmer’s dreary scenario. Perfs are OK, though material does them no favors.

Past Perfect

Canada

Production

A Seats 3A & 3C presentation of an imX Communications production. Produced by Camelia Frieberg. Executive producers, Christopher Zimmerman, J. William Ritchie. Directed, written by Daniel McIvor.

Crew

Camera (color, digital video to 35mm), Rudolf Blahacek; editor, Mike Munn; music, Richard Feren; production designer, Emanuel Jannasch. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Perspective Canada), Sept. 8, 2002. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Rebecca Jenkins, Daniel MacIvor, Maury Chaykin, Marie Brassard, Kathryn MacLellan.
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