THE OTHER HALF (JOEY KLEIN, 2016)

Tom Cullen and Tatiana Maslany in a scene from Joey Klein's The Other Half {PHOTO:  D-GENERATE FILMS}

Tom Cullen and Tatiana Maslany in a scene from Joey Klein's The Other Half {PHOTO:  D-GENERATE FILMS}

Joey Klein’s debut feature, The Other Half, best articulates what’s wrong with contemporary independent cinema. This despondent portrait of codependency sees Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany as Emily, a woman suffering from bipolar disorder, quickly courting the favor of Nickie (played by Tom Cullen). What follows is your usual misconception of ambiguity for profundity, wherein Klein creates a jarring nightmarescape that fails to reveal anything meaningful. Klein expectantly relies on his performers to push the picture along, and Maslany has her moments, but it’s all muddled in Klein’s anti-formalism: his camera lacks urgency, his visuals are muddy, as the film is constantly shot in the poorly-lit interiors, and his writing filled with vapid clichés. None of these seem quite as egregious as wasting Xavier Dolan’s standby, Suzanne Clément, in a throwaway role – Klein’s great achievement is that he can take an actress of such skill and reduce her to rubble.