Elephant Song, it quickly becomes evident this is the kind of indie that needs to have the bar of expectation kept low.
Yes, its a carefully-plotted drama, sometimes tipping over into thriller territory with its minute augmentations of suspense at precise intervals. But the majority of the time, its merely a serviceable plot. Audiences have seen these psych ward head-trip yarns spun time and time again. These are stories that rely on a narrator who is inherently unreliable, an upstanding antagonist made rube and a few put-upon supporting characters who muddle until the end-credits. This trio deserves better. Naturally, Greenwood and Keener make the most of their roles - as they are wont to do given their stellar track records of old. They help keep this drifting bit of cinema tethered to the shore, channeling the salt-of-the-earth qualities that are their dramatic inheritance. But it is Dolan that shines. Stepping from behind the camera and back into the second pair of shoes he inhabits so comfortably - as actor - he is a powerhouse. Equal parts enigmatic, fragile and unwieldy, Dolan is a tour de force that helps to elevate this into something worth sticking with. A well-done, if not particularly memorable, drama, Elephant Song may be small in scope but it is big in its vision. It is a film that will keep your curiosity piqued, delivering on it premise to complete satisfaction.
Allie Gemmill | @alliegem