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The Sweet Hereafter

1997 / 112m - Canada
The Sweet Hereafter poster

I was pretty surprised to discover this film won a prestigious prize at the Cannes festival. It's the first feature-length Egoyan I watched and while not terrible, I felt it was little more than an elevated TV drama that dragged on just a little too long. Not really the kind of film you'd expect to win any big prizes.

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One fateful morning, a school bus drives off the road and ends up in an icy lake below. Fourteen kids die, leaving the small community where it happened stunned. Stephens is a renowned lawyer who takes on the case, but when he talks to the families involved he finds it difficult to get a grasp what exactly went down that morning.

Performances are basic, the cinematography is rather dull (especially considering the amazing setting) and the music is a bit cheesy. The drama is also a little overstated and sentimental. There's enough intrigue there and Egoyan kept me interested until the end, but there's really nothing that stood out as particularly remarkable.