Director: Suzanne Crocker
Starring: Suzanne Crocker & the Crocker family
This is a super low-budget documentary about a family that goes off-grid in Canada’s Yukon region for nine months. The film chronicles the Crocker family’s move into a remote cabin without electricity or running water and their subsequent activities. I use the word ‘activities’ in place of the word ‘adventures’ on purpose, since they are not really exciting enough to qualify as adventures. They are incredibly mild and revoltingly wholesome activities: whittling toys and decorations for Christmas, giggling and ice-skating, and spending literally half of each day preparing food.
It’s The Revenant meets The Brady Bunch, but less interesting.
This movie is billed as a kind of wake-up call to what is ‘really’ important (the tagline on the poster is disconnect to reconnect) but it’s quite a two-dimensional portrait of the wilderness experience. At times the spectre of danger or some other unpleasantness raises its head, but each time it is summarily dismissed. There is thin ice and Gerard’s Skidoo breaks down – has he been fatally stranded halfway between the cabin and civilisation? No. He makes it the rest of the way on foot. A bear menaces the two daughters of the family, aged four and eight respectively. Does the bear injure anybody? Do the parents need to shoot the bear to save their children? Nope, and nope again. It goes on this way throughout the whole movie. Possible problems are brought up only to be resolved immediately.
It is at best not terribly interesting, and at worst willfully misleading. This presentation of going into the wild leaves out completely the danger of going Into the Wild, the book about a young man named Christopher McCandless who walked off into Alaska and died a slow death of combined starvation and malnutrition. It’s not all fun and games out there. Don’t feel bad if you like having electricity.
That being said, it’s kind of cool to watch someone else’s home movies when they’re well-edited and well-scored like this. It has a definite flavor of home movie about it beyond the poor camera quality, infusing the entire spirit of the film. Maybe it’s the refusal to let any member of the family look bad on screen, or capture anything unflattering for posterity. The scenery is nice. The children are cute and well-behaved. Nobody freezes to death or gets dysentery. Fine. It’s just fine. Might be nice to watch if it’s raining.
Review by Yvonne Buresch
The Revelation Perth International Film Festival comes to a close July 17. Check out the full program here.