0 out of 10


Canada's Cash For Crass

People often mistake Canadians for their cousins south of the 49th Parallel, but in moviemaking, they could not be further apart and it says more about their respective nations than any World Bank report ever could. Whereas Hollywood is regularly criticised for trading some of its quality for putting bums on seats, the Canadians neither need ANY quality nor ANY box office return - instead they just collect their tax credits from a pork barrel Government, happy to slosh away taxpayers cash on the cheapest flick by putting bums behind the cameras. Just open a can of unexposed celluloid, leave it to blacken in the sunlight and expect cheques from a dozen ministries to start jamming up your letterbox. And "Convergence" certainly does nothing to counter the Canadian image as a centre of state-funded flop production. As a cut-to-the-bone budget flick, it is an object lesson in milking the system.

Stories where "Natural balance has been disrupted" are as old as man with even Shakespeare writing about horses seen eating each after the rightful King of Scotland is murdered. Here, however, following in the footsteps of "Constantine" and the tacky "Outer Limits", "Convergence" is just a mass of every possible cliched idea being chucked in, lay lines, precognition, string theory, telekinesis and fatalism, you name it! And, as usual, the heros work as paranormal detective agents and the Seattle Chronicle in a flick where looking for depth would be like trying to find the Marianas Trench in a baking tray.

Thankfully, from the first opening moments, anyone with half a brain can see how crummy it is. Being riddled with stereotypes, it is acted so attrociously it makes you cringe, and includes one actor has simply copied the autistic character from the Cube for his role as a mental patient and it's all backed by the lousy, dull camerawork of a TV film crew whose resumes were justly binned at Paramount. And the plot? It's so directionless and senseless that even now, I'm still not quite sure exactly what it was all about. At one point, lead investigator Alison Caine, played by Cynthia Preston, a theatrically challenged bimbo with all the acting skills of a Thunderbird puppet, is asked, "Ali, what's going on?" - how the hell would she know when clearly even the director doesn't? As one of the characters says, "No end no beginning all the same.".If you do decide to sit out its statutory 93 minutes of pure silicone padding that Wilding needs to qualify for his tax handout, you'll see they've wheeled in poor Christopher Lloyd, the one time Professor in "Back To The Future", who wanders about, battling to stay awake in this sleep-inducing tripe.

In a film about the paranormal, one might at least be expected to see a few special effects, like the demons of "Constantine" or even some aliens taking time off from TV's "X-Files", but on a Canadian tax-dodge budget, no saving is spared. With the exception only of the coffee cup flying off the table and shattering on the ceiling which every commentator notes as the only passable minute of the movie, on the whole, they make do with a few bricks thrown through the window, extra blue bulbs in the lighting and some old trash off a garbage truck, strewn around a car park and set on fire (...since when are aeroplanes filled with old sofas and shopping bags of potato peelings?) Similarly, there's something almost surreal about the location. Despite being set in Seattle, the big Green buses of Vancouver just keep rolling on by in the background, an effect that is hardly countered from thrusting a few yellowing postcards of the Seattle in the 1980's onto the screen.

As producer, director, film editor, writer and assistant chief bottle-washer, Gavin Wilding demonstrates what sort of an accident can happen when a country is prepared to foot the tab for some wannabe who is so talentless that he shouldn't be let within a couple of miles of a scriptwiting word processor, let alone a camera. It takes more than some bunch of weirdos strolling around, behaving bizarrely to make a creepy thriller. Likewise, suspense doesn't mean being left in confusion until some poor black dude, who's clearly desparate for a chance to get the afternoon off from waiting on tables, can be bundled onto the rickety stage to tell you the entire plor in a short monologue.

Sailors never used to trust a sailing ship whose name had been changed in olden days and today it still seems like good advice. With "Convergence" gaining such a reputation as garbage quickly established even in its native Canada, Wilding and his cronies were forced to rename it, "Premonition" for its US debut. Ironically, made by a production company known as "Rampage", its not hard to see whose cash they're looting their way through...yep, ours! As one, non-descript character pleads at the end, "Why do I feel so empty like I was betrayed?" - ANSWER: You've traded in your future in the motion picture industry, matey, to help Wilding screw us, the taxpayers.

My'll loathe it

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett