Film review: My Good Man’s Gone

Part of a series of reviews for films from the 2016 Kamloops Film Festival

kff-article-logoMy Good Man's GoneOnly shown for the second time after its Vancouver International Film Festival premiere, Nick Citton’s heartfelt and funny first feature My Good Man’s Gone shows his burgeoning talent and the commitment to film he has undertaken. It follows a brother and sister who travel to small-town Arkansas to clean up after their recently-deceased father. A simple premise up front, the film peels back showing the effects death has on small towns and what that community can do for the grieving.

Rick Dacey and Cheryl Nichols, as Wes and Joni Carver respectively, portray the siblings with enough humanity and likability to draw the audience in and understand their stressful situation. Robert Baker as the local junior deputy also gives a strong performance representing one who “got out” of the small town life just to be drawn back later in life. Also featured in the film are residents of the town who give documentary branches between each of the acts as a way to uncover the charm and distinct feel of the small American town.

Filled with breezy tone while never shying away from the hardships of loss, the film stands as a success for Vancouver-raised Citton, as his small crew, over the course of years of filming and resource building, have made a film that captures the eccentricities of small town living without the associated prejudice. The film does suffer from a few issues, including the pacing at the tail end of the third act feeling a bit rushed and the sound design needing some tinkering or buffing out, but those who have a chance to view My Good Man’s Gone will find an excellent and enjoyable film.

Premiering for the first time theatrically, Citton unveiled his short film The Future Perfect featuring Robert Baker and the voice talent of Zachary Quinto. Revolving around a time traveller who must go back in time to complete a seemingly arbitrary task, the plot unfolds at an extremely well-timed pace to fantastic visual effects and a forward-thinking narrative always one step ahead of where you think it will end up. While tonally a 360 from the feature, it displays a different and possibly even more exciting side of Citton as each form has been meticulously organized and executed.

Both films will be making the circuit throughout the season while Citton hopes to continue working on several more films, one being a feature-length version of his short that will be undergoing pre-production sometime in the near future. Each share a quality that puts a blip on the map for the writer/director that will hopefully receive more attention in the coming months.