Review: ‘Monkey Warfare’

Deep-dyed deadpan "Monkey Warfare" reps an above-average entry in the Canadian cinematic tradition of loser comedy. A bit idiosyncratic and anecdotal to get far theatrically, this third feature for writer-director Reg Harkema ("A Girl Is a Girl," "Better Off in Bed") should make some friends on the fest circuit and in niche rentals.

Deep-dyed deadpan “Monkey Warfare” reps an above-average entry in the Canadian cinematic tradition of loser comedy. Hapless protags are two 40-ish bicycle-riding, dumpster-diving bohos whose off the grid lifestyle attracts a youngster with more aggressively radical ideas. A bit idiosyncratic and anecdotal to get far theatrically, this third feature for writer-director Reg Harkema (“A Girl Is a Girl,” “Better Off in Bed”) should make some friends on the fest circuit and in niche rentals.

The spark has cooled for Dan (Don McKellar) and Linda (Tracy Wright), united these days by shared survival habits — the scavenging of Toronto garage sales and trash for stuff to sell online, and the pot smoking that gets them through each sullen day. When their dealer is busted, however, a new source must be found. Dan finds that and more in Susan (Nadia Litz), comely young purveyor of “B.C. Organic.” Ideologically as well as libidinously provocative, Susan pokes at hypocrisies in the duo’s creaky counterculturalism, eventually exposing their truly transgressive past while trying to ignite a new revolutionary fire. Laconic off-kilter humor is well worked out on all levels of the production.

Monkey Warfare

Canada

Production

A New Real Films presentation in association with Rustik Entertainment and Telefilm Canada of a Masculin-Feminin Film production. Produced by Jennifer Jonas, Leonard Farlinger, Kris King. Directed, written by Reg Harkema.

Crew

Camera (color), Jonathon Cliff; editor, Kathy Weinkauf; production designer, Andrew Bee. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World), Sept. 15, 2006. Running time: 77 MIN.

With

Don McKellar, Tracy Wright, Nadia Litz.
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