VIFF 2015: The Devout lacks authenticity

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      The Devout (Canada)  

      Although there’s an admirable seriousness of intention to this low-budget Canadian entry, stiff acting and flat writing quickly dispel the mystique in a tale of spiritual inquiry.

      When a little girl falls seriously ill, her parents gradually come to believe she’s the reincarnation of the astronaut who commanded the fatal Apollo 1 mission. Okay, so why did filmmaker Connor Gaston change Gus Grissom’s name to Jones? (And you know you’re in trouble, scriptwise, when you hear a supposed research scientist asking someone to “Try and remember” a past life.)

      The film’s lack of authenticity or playfulness is made more punishing by grey, soap-opera lighting and a droning, church-organ score that blankets the enterprise with dull obviousness.

      International Village, October 2 (9 p.m.) and 4 (12:45 p.m.)