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TIFF Review: Blind Spot

A suicide attempt by a teenage girl shocks her parents.

Two female high school students and handball teammates walk and talk together after a match; as one of them enters into a friendly home environment she does what appears to be a normal routine until after writing a note in her diary and leaving a phone message for her father the teenager disappears off-screen.  A state of panic ensues as the stepmother discovers that her stepdaughter lies barely breathing as she has jumped from the window of her bedroom.  The ambulance arrives and the action shifts to the hospital with the trauma doctor in the operating room and the parents struggling to come to terms with what has happened.

Medals of valour should be handed out to Pia Tjelta and Knut K. Pedersen.  Pia Tjelta plays the distraught stepmother who rushes down the apartment stairwell, discovers the unconscious body, and rides in the ambulance with the camera focused entirely on her reactions.  Tjelta must have been physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the production.  Then there is the matter of Steadicam operator Knut K. Pedersen who has to do these long continuous takes whether it be following the two classmates as they walk home to running down a stairwell to following the different actors in the hospital.  Hard to imagine that multiple takes were not needed for these scenes.

In choosing to use long continuous takes veteran actress Tuva Novotny has chosen a technically difficult approach for her feature-length debut but as result is a able to achieve the desired effect of a documentary unfolding in real-time.  The cast is kept small so the audience gets to spend time with each of the characters.  It was narratively smart to have the moment where the soon to be revealed suicidal teenager is walking alone and having the sound effects convey the jump from the window.  The shift in perspectives is natural as the camera is never too far behind the characters.  Anders Baasmo Christiansen comes across somewhat overdone as the devastated father while there are some nice subtle performances such as when the male nurse portrayed by Oddgeir Thune makes a discovery while reading the medical records on the computer.

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Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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