Saturday movie review: October Gale

Most regular readers of my movie reviews likely realize I favor independent films. And actors who star in independent films.

Two of my favorite independent film actors—Patricia Clarkson and Tim Roth—star in this week's movie review film, OCTOBER GALE. The film also stars Scott Speedman, whom I've enjoyed watching grow as an actor since first seeing him in the TV series Felicity years ago.

October Gale

OCTOBER GALE is a romantic thriller seemingly designed for older movie watchers in the mood for a little suspense, a little romance, but no gore and no sex scenes.

Patricia Clarkson plays Helen Matthews, a doctor grieving the loss of her beloved husband of 33 years the year before. Helen is off to the family cabin located on a remote island—the cabin where she and her husband were vacationing the day he died.

Helen goes to the cabin alone, despite her only son's wishes for her to let him go with. Helen is strong and stubborn and determined to visit the cabin again on her own, on her own terms as she tries to come to terms with her overwhelming loss.

Helen wrestles with painful memories as she cleans up the mess left in the cabin upon her hasty leave the year before. Late in her first night there, a stranger whom she eventually learns is named William (Scott Speedman) appears at her door, delirious and bleeding from a gunshot wound. Helen cares for the stranger's wound and soon finds herself fighting for her life as the shooter (deliciously villainous Tim Roth) remains on the loose, determined to finish the job of murdering William.


OCTOBER GALE kept me on edge as I waited for bad things to happen. The scenes didn't play out as I'd expected—which I always appreciate, as I abhor predictability, especially in suspense films. That's not the case with the ending, though, as I guessed it would end pretty much along the lines that it did.

Despite that, though, I enjoyed OCTOBER GALE. Patricia Clarkson played an admirably tough Helen, with smidgens of tenderness peaking out here and there. She was struggling to overcome the most painful experience of her life, yet found herself smackdab in the scariest experience of her life. Finding her way out of the latter seemed to help ease her way through the former.

The music is lovely, with the score by Mischa Chillak being primarily solo piano. The movie was filmed in Toronto, and the setting is gorgeous. Director Ruba Nadda earned a nomination for Best Canadian Feature Film for OCTOBER GALE in the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival.

OCTOBER GALE (rated PG in Canada, but unrated for US) was released in 2014 and is available on DVD and streaming.