What Sticks & Feathers pushes from the very beginning is the distinct separation between emotion and the surface of life itself. What’s felt doesn’t have to relate to what is seen. In some ways it shouldn’t, being that the visuals primarily focus on hockey. I don’t remember a fantastic amount of hockey in my youth and the film initially gave me a reason as to why that is. The footage is not intently focused on selling hockey as the pulse-pounding, adrenaline ride that we’d expect from a young man. Not that hockey isn’t a beloved household sport, but it certainly adds to the story that there is an exceedingly sombre context.
Jac’s story follows the passing of his father and how hockey acted as a natural cure for his own grief. In his voice there’s the sense that there was no script, more of a rehearsed dialogue that has had to be explained to all the friends and teachers who want the full short story. Complete with the cracks of honesty, it’s a tale told by a voice that knows real pain. The frankness in its telling fits with a character that has come to terms with the grief and is willing to share the facts in maturity.
The sequential nature of the film runs as one montage with effective visuals captured on low-end digital. One sequence of Jac scoring in a hockey game is particularly impressive and uplifting, showing off the astounding highs that come with the sport. Although some parts of the film look less desirable than others, we feel the ingenuity of a project that was made with more care than budget. Something we could all use a little more of.
Reviewed by Oliver Ward
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