Published Dec 02, 2020Part punk rom-com and part murder mystery, Fall Back Down is an entertaining romp that manages to be wacky and gritty at the same time. Andrew Dunbar stars as Nick, an activist who has to bail on his humanitarian trip to Africa due to his family's dire financial situation. His girlfriend Lizzie (Jacky Lai) goes without him, leaving Nick to stay in his trailer and pick up whatever work he can get.
Nick doesn't hear from Lizzie for months, so he loafs around with his sister Althea (Dinah Lafleche) while working at Vancouver's iconic 2400 Motel (a recognizable filming location from The X-Files). He takes a job at a sewing factory, mostly just so he can use the washroom, and he strikes up a cheeky, teasing rapport with his coworker Reena (Aadila Dosani). It's the sweatshop equivalent of pulling pigtails on the playground.
Nick and Reena stumble across a puddle of blood and, figuring that the victim is most likely dead, they do their best to investigate the crime while not arousing anyone's suspicions.
The film takes some turns that are a little too slapstick: there's a blowdart scene that doesn't make all that much sense, a wildly unrealistic depiction of music industry success, and some over-acted drug use. Some of the romantic plot twists aren't fully believable. But it mostly holds together thanks to the will-they-won't-they chemistry between Nick and Reena, who are polar opposites — the former a free-spirited punk, the latter snarky and conservative — with a believable bond. They're probably wrong for each other, but you're rooting for them anyway.
With excellent performances from little-known actors — Lafleche, in particular, has only one credit to her name on IMDb — and some compelling Vancouver scenery courtesy of first-time director S.B. Edwards, Fall Back Down largely pulls off its ambitious and multifaceted vision. Plus, keep your eye out for a surprise cameo from D.O.A.'s Joe Keithley.
The 2020 edition of Oshawa, ON's Videodrunk Film Festival runs online from December 2 to 6. Get information at the festival's website. (KISS OFF Entertainment)