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Canadian Film Fest Review: A Small Fortune

March 25, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2022 Canadian Film Fest runs in two segments from March 22nd to 26th and March 29th to April 2nd, exclusively on Super Channel.

If you stumbled upon a bag of cash with no one around and no apparent owner, would you keep it for yourself, or report it to the authorities? That’s the moral dilemma that Kevin Doucette (Stephen Oates), the protagonist in the new Canadian crime drama A Small Fortune, finds himself in.

Kevin lives on Prince Edward Island in his father’s old house, and is struggling to financially support his pregnant wife Sam (Liane Balaban). He spends his days trawling for Irish Moss, and selling what he can to Omer (Bill McFadden). But it’s a dying industry, and Kevin may have to face the reality of heading West to get a job in Alberta, where many of the other Islanders have gone.

His fortunes change one day when he finds some cash bills amongst the moss, and discovers a bag stuffed with thousands of dollars washed up on shore. Kevin decides to take the money and keep his discovery a secret, but it’s a choice that comes with consequences. When a dangerous criminal (Joel Thomas Hynes) tries to get back the money, and rookie cop Susan Crowe (Andrea Bang) starts ruffling the locals by asking questions, the relative peace of the small fishing village gets shattered.

Directed by Adam Perry, working from his own screenplay which has been expanded from his 2017 short film A Blessing from the Sea, A Small Fortune functions as an engaging morality play that builds a fine amount of suspense as it goes along. Perry’s script does a good job of exploring the moral dilemma at the centre of the film, showing how poverty leads people to make desperate decisions, and how these actions have repercussions. The unique flavour of PEI provides an atmospheric backdrop for the story, and cinematographer Jeff Wheaton does a good job of capturing the landscapes.

The film also boasts some nice editing by Justin Oakey, including one sequence that cuts back and forth between Sam developing photos in her dark room and Kevin washing the money in the barn, drawing strong parallels between their actions as she hangs her photos and he hangs the plastic bills to dry on a string. The result is a very good maritime crime thriller, that builds to an inevitable but very strong conclusion, and is anchored by solid performances from Oates and Balaban.

A Small Fortune plays tonight on Super Channel at 9 PM and Midnight (ET). Tickets and more information can be found right here.

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