If, for some reason, you haven’t seen film director Lowell Dean’s 2014 pulpy romp, Wolfcop, do yourself a favour and see it. Wolfcop is what catapulted Dean’s career into the toast of Canadian genre films. Coming off the success of Wolfcop and its sequel, has lead Dean to the grid, the SuperGrid.
Premiering at the Calgary International Film Festival, SuperGrid is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that follows two brothers, Jesse and Deke, Wolfcop himself, Leo Fafard, and Glee alum, Marshall Williams, as they transport a mysterious cargo across the barren wasteland that was once Canada, dubbed “the grid”. Think Mad Max in the Prairies.
SuperGrid almost vibes from the first Mad Max with the way it’s paced as Dean smartly keeps the story grounded on Jesse and Deke as they’re forced by Goon alumi, Jonathan Cherry’s crime boss, Lazlo, out of the refuge of the city out onto the grid to find and retrieve the mysterious package he’s lost. It’s out on the road where SuperGrid comes to life as Dean treats us to a visual treat of massive shots of a digitally altered Saskatchewan and the lawless survivors that live out on the grid.
Lowell Dean creates some damn pleasing visuals and his use of colours help his frames truly stand out. But his real talent lies in his casting, I had problems watching the disfunction you see in Jesse and Deke when you first meet them because it feels so much like the relationship I have with my own brother. And Dean smartly uses the natural isolation that comes from a road trip across the prairies to allow this relationship to truly carry the weight of this film. Marshall Williams carries a lot of the weight as he struggles with the events that put him on the grid and the full intensity of Leo Fafard. Fafard is the definition of older brother, looking out for Deke and struggling to accept his brother after everything that’s happened.
And the further onto the grid they get, the more survivors they meet, the farther down the gas pedal gets pressed. Again mirroring the pacing of Mad Max, Dean doesn’t shy away from showing what the struggles of surviving in these dog-eat-dog world. The back half of this film is a bullet ridden, gore filled, chase film as the brothers try and keep their mysterious package from falling into anyone else’s hands.
SuperGrid isn’t perfect by any definition but that doesn’t stop the film from being any less entertaining. Well worth 4 out of 5 stars, SuperGrid, despite the post-apocalyptic backdrop, is a genuinely touching story about two estranged brothers reconnecting.