Director: Jason Priestley Writer: Jessie Gabe Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Richard Dreyfuss, Jayne Eastwood, Aaron Poole, Eric Peterson, Natalie Radford Runtime: 90 mins Rating: 14A
Independent films, especially those made in Canada, have given those who consume film a different, refreshing experience. Some of these projects, no matter the size or budget, end up having a bigger impact than a large, blockbuster film. Actor Jason Priestley joins this ever growing world with his feature film directorial debut, Cas & Dylan.
The film follows Dr. Cas Pepper (Richard Dreyfuss), a dying man who decides to stop the clock on his own terms. Involuntary, his plans take a bit of turn when he meets up with the exuberant and eccentric 22-year-old Dylan Morgan (Tatiana Maslany). Together, they embark on a bit of an adventure that they both do not expect to take.
Jason Priestley makes his entrance into the feature film realm with flying colours, literally. The film is filled with beautiful Canadian scenery, complimented by the use of wonderful colours throughout the film. The film does deal with deep and dark subject matter, but the film itself is not dull, which gives the material a softer edge. Jessie Gabe’s story is put together in a rather nice way. Instead of focusing on the troubles Cas and Dylan go through, it focuses on the bond that develops between them. Priestley has taken that story and created a bit of an adventure that we, as the audience, can sit back, relax and see unfold. Beyond anything, the film is a feel good experience, and one that is both relatable and enjoyable to watch.
The highlight of this film is, without a shadow of a doubt, the performances by Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslany. Oscar-winner Dreyfuss doesn’t require words to justify what he is capable of. His performance in this film is moving and emotional, and by the end of it, you just have more respect for the man. Dr. Cas Pepper is one of those characters you really want to meet, and Dreyfuss’ performance lets the audience get as close to understanding the character as possible. Maslany is the talk of the planet with her performances in Orphan Black. Her performance as Dylan is a very good reminder of just how capable she is in playing very different characters. Dylan is a properly enjoyable character to watch and Maslany’s performance, right till the very end, is a memorable one. Watching the two artists work together is like watching a ballet in sync. It is truly beautiful to see them compliment one another, strengthening the bond between their characters as the story unfolds.
With appropriately paired music, simple and clean photography and a simple, yet moving story, Jason Priestley has crafted a film that one can watch time and time again. The one thing you get to appreciate with this production is beauty of performance, and what a character can become when given to the right artist. By seeing their interactions on screen, the artists looked like they truly enjoyed playing their characters and that, to be frank, makes all the difference in the world. Can’t wait to see what Priestley’s creative mind will come up with next.