On bluray from writer/director Christopher Rucinski and Bayview Entertainment is the story of a veteran and the past with NORTHERN SHADE.
Justin McLaughlin (Jesse Gavin) is an Army veteran living on his father’s boat and steering clear from family and basically everyone for years. He works and returns to the boat day after day. A knock from police to tell him his truck has been found; Justin is confused since he gave it to younger brother Charlie (Joseph Poliquin).
Now everyone thinks Charlie has gone missing and Justin knows he must break his isolation to go out and find him. When the police aren’t interested, he meets Frankie (Titania Galliher), also a vet who tried being a cop but found private investigations more her style. Justin gets information that his brother might be with a man named Billy (Romano Orzari) who is an extreme paramilitary leader.
Going to their base, Justin discovers that instead of getting his brother, Billy wants Justin to join up and help train the men at the camp. Justin is immediately turned off having lived his own personal nightmare of war. Billy lets him go but not without a parting shock!
Surprised by his brothers decision to stay at the camp, Justin decides that he is going to get his brother no matter what he has to say about it. Frankie joins him as back up and what they discover about Billy’s plans are frightening and Charlie is caught in the middle of it. There is no time and split decisions are made in order to stop it all – but do they make it in time?
Gavin as Justin is a man haunted by his own experience growing up, a dysfunctional family and the trauma of war. What he didn’t realize is that his own self-isolation has caused pain for those who love him. Realizing he must save his brother; Gavin gives us the experience of the war memories and what happens after. He might not say a lot but his actions are clear and without question.
Orzari as Billy is just out of his mind plain and simple. He gets into the minds of those in his camp and distorts truth in order to get them to carry out his heinous plan. Orzari delivers his lines with distain and hostility to make you believe this character walks the earth today as so many of them do.
Galliher as Frankie has her own experiences with war and the trauma that it caused her during time as a cop. She lets Justin know that she understands and that getting his brother may be filled with danger but it is worth every step to save him.
Poliquin as Charlie is a young man just trying to deal with trauma of his own. His confusion comes from a brother that didn’t save the boy when he needed it the most. That confusion has turned to anger and to fill it, Billy convinces him that the camp and its people are his family and support him in everything. Poliquin gives his character the bottom line of that he just wants his pain to be heard.
Other cast include Nick Santoro as Matthew, Sheila Ball as Rachel, Alejandro Bravo as Noel Acosta, Terrance Carty as Freeman, Alex Haase as Vin, Marian Edminston as Nancy McLaughlin, Sheena Henderson as Giles, Kit Kindell as Mary, Brian McDonald as Captain Tim Smith and Rose Marie Guess as Michelle.
Bayview Entertainment has been a full-service media company committed to acquiring, developing, producing, marketing and distributing audio-visual content. With a catalog of over 3,500 titles across a wide range of genres, BayView has been home to some of the biggest names in the industry, including titles that have been nominated for or won Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Glove Awards and NAACP Image Awards, as well as premiered at festivals such as TIFF, Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Tribeca and Fantasia. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.vayviewentertainment.com.
The film has also voted Best Narrative Feature by the Fargo Film Festival, Best Drama Feature, Best Actor for Jesse Gavin by the Legacy Theatre Film Festival, Best Feature 2nd Runner Up by the Woods Hole Film Festival, Best Screenplay by the Phoenix Film Festival, Best Feature by the Poppy Jasper Film Festival and Best Actor by the DTLA Film Festival.
NORTHERN SHADE covers so much with its story set during Covid. There are so many themes it actually covers. First and foremost is the dysfunction of Justin’s family prior to the military. A father who wasn’t a father and a mother who had issues of her own. He reacted terribly to both these things and took his anger out on a youngster.
Joining the military might have seemed like a good idea at the time but, as with most soldiers, there is intense trauma that has effected Justin’s ability to live day to day. Self-isolating once he returns home is one of the symptoms of PTSD and avoiding family is certainly another that has become sadly commonplace.
Trying to do the right thing by his brother, he comes into contact with the outside world again only to discover that it is just as ugly as he remembered. Justin pushes on and even if he falls occasionally, he does push on to one goal – to get his brother home once again.
In the end – bring him home!