A sensitive but rebellious teen from a dysfunctional family pays a heavy price for his willfulness in the sluggish drama “Blackbird,” the feature debut of Canadian helmer-writer Jason Buxton. Mixing the genre cliches of the coming-of-ager and juvenile prison pic to queasy effect, the narrative centers on a bullied Goth in rural Nova Scotia accused of plotting a Columbine-style massacre when he follows the school social worker’s advice to work out his revenge fantasies by writing them down. With dialogue, performances and visual style reminiscent of a subpar Afterschool Special, this bird won’t migrate far from home.
Sent to live with his hunting-and-hockey-loving father (Michael Buie), in a burg where being different is not appreciated, 16-year-old Sean (Connor Jessup) stands out, with his black nail polish and piercings. When he dares to think he has a chance with preppy princess Deanna (Alexia Fast), her jock boyfriend beats him up, but ultimately it is Sean who is deemed a danger to the community. Bundled off to a juvenile prison, he falls prey to mini-psychopath Trevor (Alex Ozerov). The undernourished craft package accentuates the film’s overall lack of flair.