One way to kickstart your creativity is to try something new, something out of the ordinary that you don’t usually do. It might be as simple as deliberately wearing complementary but mismatched socks, or as elaborate as travelling to Paris and people watching along the Champs-Elysees. For me, it meant taking in a new movie at the first annual Langley International Film Festival.
I don’t usually watch survival thrillers like the movie, Numb. But I’ve known producer Dylan Jenkinson since before he was into movie-making, so I was eager to see his first feature film as part of Jenkinson/Goode Productions.
The storyline by Andre Harden is simple: “When a couple in financial distress discover GPS coordinates that promise to lead to stolen gold they must partner with a pair of mysterious hitchhikers to enter the remote winter wilderness and recover the coins.” As the four main characters are drawn by the promise of gold, they become more and more desperate even as they become less and less able to choose wisely, and as the relationships between them deteriorate. They become physically numb in the extreme cold, and numb in their ability to think and make good decisions.
The performances are solid, and the movie beautifully filmed, with the wintry landscape almost like another character–demanding, relentless, unforgiving, and revealing more about the other characters than they want to admit to themselves.
I also loved the soundtrack, and in the Q&A session immediately following the film, I discovered why. Composer Alain Mayrand talked about the music “representing the landscape, representing the characters, what you want audiences to see and understand, so they don’t just see the characters’ bad choices, but see them as human beings and have some compassion for them.” Did you even know that a soundtrack could do all of that? I certainly felt it.
Although this is not an overtly Christian film, it touches on themes of prayer, greed, sacrifice, love, choices, honesty, pride, and asks, how far would you go for $4 million? Director Jason Goode describes the financially strapped couple as Adam and Eve, exiled from paradise and desperately wanting to get back in, even if they have to risk their lives searching for gold in the frozen wilderness.
As the film ended, I noticed the names of two churches that Dylan and Jason had listed in the credits. When I had a moment with Dylan after the show, I asked him about faith, community, and film-making. How is the church important to film-making?
“Without the church I wouldn’t be sane,” he said. “Not that everyone in my church knows everything about the process of movie-making, but having a church, a small group that cares and can pray through all of the ups and downs helps keep me sane.”
So go see Numb–go if you like survival thrillers, go if you like a good story that explores some very human themes, go to support independent film-making: March 2 – Sneak Peak Screenings and week-long engagements March 4-10.
Here is the trailer for Numb–I felt cold when I first saw it!
Writing/Reflection Prompt: Write a one-sentence synopsis of the last movie you saw. Borrow one or more characters, and write them into a short story set in a different time or place.