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Review: 22 Chaser

July 6, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Set in the seedy underground world of Toronto tow-truck drivers, 22 Chaser follows Ben (Brian J. Smith), a driver for the Jackrabbit towing company who is trying to make an honest living, but is stuck doing by-law duty and finds himself struggling to support his wife (Tiio Horn) and their young son (Jack Fulton).

The real money is in being a “chaser,” the sleazy drivers who operate on the edges of the law, listening to police scanners and racing each other to traffic accidents, trying to be the first truck on the scene to bring the damaged vehicles to body shops that give them kickbacks in cash.

When Ben promises to buy his son a several hundred dollar bike for his birthday, and gets money from a crooked cop (Aidan Devine) who moonlights as a loan shark but isn’t happy waiting to be paid back, his only hope is to become a chaser. But this puts him in direct competition with the other chasers who patrol the streets, including his ethically shaky co-worker Sean (Aaron Ashmore), who is trying to weasel his way into Ben’s family life, as well as the independent driver Wayne (Raoul Trujillo), a lone wolf whose loyalties lie with no one.

Made with the help of the Canadian Film Centre, 22 Chaser is the promising feature debut of filmmaker Rafal Sokolowski, following several short films. While the story is admittedly clichéd at times, and the overall outcome is fairly predictable, this is a thoroughly watchable and decently entertaining Toronto thriller that has enough going for it to make it worth a look.

The film moves at a good pace, and largely eschews filler at a tightly packed 85 minutes. With much of the action unfolding at night, Cabot McNenly’s attractive cinematography gives an almost noirish vibe to the film, highlighted by the steely grey skylines of The Six. Furthermore, the performances are solid across the board, and do a good job of keeping us engaged in the story.

22 Chaser is now playing in limited release at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto, and will be getting a VOD release on July 17th.

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