Trouble – Hot Docs 2020

A filmmaker seeks to reconnect with her estranged Northern Irish father in Trouble. Mariah Garnett travels to Vienna to meet her father David, who she hasn’t seen since she was two years old. Growing up in Belfast at the height of The Troubles, David was the subject of a 1971 BBC news story, solely for the fact that he was a Protestant dating a Catholic. With the news story eventually causing David to flee Ireland, Mariah makes the trip to Belfast solo and retraces the steps of her father’s early life.

Trouble is somewhat of a hybrid documentary, as a large chunk of the second half of the film focuses heavily on re-enactments, with director Mariah Garnett herself playing her father David. Frankly, I thought Trouble was a bit of a mess of a documentary, which can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be about a woman trying to reconnect with her father, the socio-political climate in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, or both. This is on top of the nauseating hand-held camerawork and the heavy use of on-screen text in lieu of proper narration. Overall, Trouble could have used some more fine-tuning.

Trouble is streaming until June 24, 2020, as part of the online 2020 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

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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).