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Oliver Sherman – first reviews

Garret Dillahunt,Oliver ShermanOliver Sherman premieres tonight at the Toronto Film Festival. The first couple of reviews – both pretty positive – are already online.

“There’s little doubt, however, that the film boasts an impressive undercurrent of suspense, as one is never entirely sure if the whole thing is meant to come off as a subtle character study or as something just a little more sinister (ie what is Sherman up to, exactly?)

Dillahunt’s remarkably subtle performance certainly goes a long way towards holding the viewer’s interest, yet it’s worth nothing that the narrative is occasionally just a little bit more predictable than one might’ve liked (ie when Sherman offers to carry two plates of hot dogs, you just know something is going to go horribly wrong).

And while this does ensure that the movie is often more effective as an actor’s showcase than as a fully realized cinematic experience, Oliver Sherman is certainly never dull and it’s also worth noting that the expectedly low-key finale does pack far more of an emotional punch than one might’ve anticipated.” [Reelfilm]

Molly Parker,Oliver Sherman“These sorts of domestic thrillers were quite popular in American cinema back in the early ’90s, with movies like Unlawful Entry and Pacific Heights ushering in Christian anxieties about cultural change negatively affecting the traditional family unit. But this particular film is Canadian, and first-time feature writer/director Ryan Redford isn’t interested in employing cheap thrills to sell his narrative. He takes his time with the characters, building conflict organically and allowing the tension to come from quiet, passive-aggressive remarks and escalating pseudo-threats.

Resultantly, while occasionally awkward in editing and scene composition, this xenophobic parable shows a maturity and acuity beyond most character-based psychological thrillers, taking a highbrow approach to the subject. What’s more, it shows a new talent in the Canadian filmmaking scene, being one of the more assured debuts to come from English-speaking Canada in quite some time.” [Exclaim]

Garret Dillahunt,Donal Logue,Oliver Sherman

Oliver Sherman – first clips

The first two clips from Oliver Sherman, both with Garret and Donal Logue, showed up online this week.

Daily Motion has the first one:

Oliver Sherman

And the second one is on YouTube:

The film will be shown at the Toronto Film Festival on September 13 and 17, then at the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival (Sept. 18 – 26), and if you’re in North Bay, you can catch this screening on October 16.

Here is a longer description from the TIFF site (if you hit the link, they also have a couple of pics):

Does saving someone else’s life make you responsible for them? This is the central question of this penetrating film about existential angst, which is grounded in subtle oppositions: friendship and duties, innocence and manipulation, past and present.

Seven years have passed since Franklin Page (Donal Logue) saved the life of fellow soldier Sherman Oliver (Garret Dillahunt) on the battlefield. It feels like it’s been a long time for earnest and hard-working Franklin, who has since moved to the countryside with his wife, Irene (Molly Parker), and their two children. But seven years seems a mere heartbeat for solitary vet pensioner Sherman, who still bears the scars of the horrors he survived. When Sherman pays a surprise visit to Franklin, who hasn’t seen or heard from him since they left the army, it sets off a chain of events that first time feature director Ryan Redford skilfully crafts into a poignant and meaningful story.

Lost and shy, Sherman is a welcome guest in the Page home. He reconnects with his old friend over beers on the porch and during nights on the town. But when he overstays his welcome, the seemingly placid countenance of this veteran starts to crack, and he lashes out in outbursts of aggressiveness and resentment toward Irene. Drawn from a short story by Rachel Ingalls, the film plunges from quiet character study into psychological thriller.

As Sherman, Dillahunt (of Deadwood fame, and starring in John Sayles’s Amigo, also screening in the Festival) is nothing less than splendid. He conveys the hurt of a lost soldier, and hints at an emotional time bomb ticking beneath the surface of a calm exterior. Parker, who previously acted alongside Dillahunt in Deadwood, is equally compelling as the warm and understanding wife of a no-nonsense man. Franklin is embodied to subtle perfection by Logue. These fine performances buoy a gripping and memorable film.

New Oliver Sherman article

Almaguin News talked to Garret, writer/director Ryan Redford and producer Paul Stephens about their experience filming Oliver Sherman in the area last week. Here is a snippet:

This is Stephens’ first time filming in the Almaguin region and he is enjoying it. The crew is filming in Powassan, Trout Creek and North Bay.

“It’s great. The colours have been fantastic,” he said.

Actor Garret Dillahunt (No Country for Old Men) says he has been in the area for a week and a half and, although he has been on set for the majority of his stay, he has admired the fall colours.

“It’s fantastic. I’ve taken some beautiful pictures,” said the Washington State actor, adding he managed some time during the weekend for photography.

“I enjoy working in Canada,” he said.

Dillahunt has worked in Toronto, Vancouver and in Alberta during the filming of The Assassination of Jessie James but this is his first time in Northern Ontario.

The versatile actor says playing a variety of roles makes the job more interesting.

Dillahunt plays the lead, Oliver Sherman.

Stephens says the film could be classified as a psychological thriller about two men who served in the war together seven years before. Once they return Franklin Page, played by Donal Logue (Ghost Rider) moves on with his life – settling down in a small town with his family. Sherman, however, who suffered a head injury, is still living with the war and can’t let it go. Nor can he let go of Page, the man who saved his life in the war.

“He gets on a bus one day and knocks on the door and kind of moves in,” said Stephens. “Something is slightly askew with this guy.” [Almaguin News]

Oliver Sherman – Hollywood Reporter article

The Hollywood Reporter has an article about Oliver Sherman.

Molly Parker and Garret Dillahunt are reuniting on the indie drama “Oliver Sherman” from Canadian producer the Film Works.

Parker (“Swingtown”) and Dillahunt earlier worked together on HBO’s “Deadwood” and next on the upcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” set for theatrical release on Nov. 25.

In “Oliver Sherman,” Dillahunt plays a disconnected war veteran who goes in search of a soldier, played by Donal Logue, who saved his life during the war and is now quietly living in a rural town with a wife (Parker) and two children.

The project, to shoot in northern Ontario, marks the first feature from writer-director Ryan Redford. Antonio Calvache is DOP, while Paul Stephens and Eric Jordan of the Films Works share producer credits.

Mongrel Media will release the indie picture in Canada. [THR]

Oliver Sherman – new article has a new article about Oliver Sherman, which starts filming tomorrow (or later today, depending on where you are).


(^ That’s the set decorator on Twitter.)

From the article:

Oliver Sherman, produced by The Film Works, is a psychological thriller staring Garret Dillahunt as the title character, who goes in search of the man who saved him during a war. The film is set in modern times but doesn’t specify which war or where it happened. Sherman eventually finds the man, who has moved on with his life, starting a family in a small town.

The family takes Sherman as a harmless, disconnected man, but soon realize he is angry and unstable.

“We looked all over Northern Ontario for locations that worked,” said producer Paul Stephens.

“A lot of the action takes place in and around the farm house so we wanted a small town look.”


Stephens said they have been in town for the past six weeks preparing for the production and training local people who are anxious to learn the specialized skills of the film industry. (…)

“The most challenging part is getting the trust of the community and working with local people to train them in very specialized jobs,” he said. []