Friday, March 20, 2009

One Week

What would you do if you had one week to live? That is the question asked by the film. Although Michael McGowan's One Week is passable, I wouldn't, in good conscience, watch this film again if I learnt that I only have one week left to live. Although the film is visually appreciable for it brings you in some parts of Canada, its script hurts you a little bit while you're watching the film. So, if the script was James Bond, it would probably say out loud: "What would I do without you (the cast)?"

After he learnt that he has a stage four cancer, Ben Tyler (Joshua Jackson), an English teacher from Toronto, quits his job and leaves behind his family along with his fiancée, Samantha (Liane Balaban), for a while. Now that he bought a Norton motorcycle from a man who couldn't have his licence renewed because of some sight problems, Ben decides that he'll ride on his bike from Toronto, Ontario, to Tofino, British-Columbia. As a matter of fact, Ben does it because he wants to avoid being treated by doctors for his cancer. Moreover, he thinks that by being treated, he'll be stuck in the hospital for an indefinite time. Hence, his desire to go West starting from Toronto. By the way, does it mean that Quebec and Canada's East Coast are not important? Hey, I want my money back! Just kidding.

While being blatantly Canadian, One Week might be visually appreciable, because it brings you almost everywhere in Canada. With an okay pace (and thank god the film was not much longer than it is) and a rather rich soundtrack, the script manages more or less to explore the fragility (or sadness) of an individual's very existence and at the same time the joy that one may find only if he/she goes after it. Hence, Michael's desire to visit this country and his impact on people that he comes across like, for instance, the farmer woman from Manitoba who fixes his bike or the woman from Alberta who sang the folk song "Un Canadien errant". Moreover, although the performance by the cast may look a little bit cold at times, the know-it-all narrator helps you to delve into most character's psyche and past.

However, despite a few qualities, you might feel that the feel is way too long than it has to be and that the script is thin despite the potential. In fact, the film contains a few long periods here and there. Besides, the script feels thin because although the character of Ben has his idea about why he wants to go West, the scriptwriter doesn't fully try to put scenes in which Ben is actually sharing his thoughts with people about the meaning of life and his cancer. For instance, while being with characters that he mostly talks to (the Albertan woman, the Manitoban farmer woman or the guy met in an Ontario motel), we sometimes feel that these scenes are just filling a void. So much for dialogues that could have been elaborated a little bit more and that have potential.

Well, that's a little bad, because One Week could have been way better if it had been written as a stage play or improved for the big screen. Despite its flaws, One Week can rely on the rather average performance of its cast, especially from Joshua Jackson (Bobby) who bear the film on his shoulder. Moreover, at best, One Week is also a feel-good film that tries to tell us that no matter what happens to us, we should always pursue happiness and never back down while doing it.

Rating: 3/5

One Week
Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:94 minutes
Genre:Road movie
Screenplay:Michael McGowan
Director:Michael McGowan
Starring:Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban and Campbell Scott

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