TIFF19: Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill (2019) 1h 40min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller | 5 September 2019 (Canada) Summary: Follows a troubled young woman returning to her hometown of Niagara Falls, where the memory of a long-ago kidnapping quickly ensnares her.
Countries: CanadaLanguages: English

A woman decides to investigate a 25-year-old kidnapping case in Clifton Hill. Following her mother’s death, Abby (Tuppence Middleton) returns home to Niagara Falls, where she is asked by her estranged sister Laure (Hannah Gross) to sign the documents finalizing the sale of the rundown Rainbow Inn to local developer Charlie Lake (Eric Johnson), whose family has had major influence in the city for generations. Going through her mother’s old documents, Abby finds some photos that remind her of a kidnapping she witnessed as a child. Despite having a reputation of being a pathological liar, Abby decides to look into the kidnapping with the help of Walter Bell (David Cronenberg), the host of a local conspiracy theory podcast.

Clifton Hill is a noir mystery film from writer/director Albert Shin (In Her Place). The prologue of the film features a 7-year-old Abby witnessing a one-eyed boy being taken away by a couple. Through her investigations, Abby learns that the boy was the son of the famous magical duo The Magicant Moulins, who was believed by police to have committed suicide. However, Abby comes to learn that this may not be the case and that the kidnapping might have something to do with Charlie Lake and his family.

Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill takes a while to truly get going, but it turns out to be a quite solid hard-boiled mystery film. Because of her tendency to lie, Abby tends to be an unreliable protagonist and if you are left wondering at times if she is just on a wild goose chase. The film also sports a scene-stealing supporting role from David Cronenberg, which demonstrates that he can have a good semi-retirement as a bit part character actor. Altogether, Clifton Hill shows how Niagra Falls makes for a great setting for a mystery.

TIFF19 screening of Clifton Hill

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).