Juggernaut doesn’t break any new ground in terms of storytelling, but where it stands out from others like it is in its cold and calculated approach towards building a strong narrative that keeps you guessing right up until the very last scene.
Synopsis: After discovering the news that his Mother has taken her life, Saxon Gamble returns home, irrationally plagued by the notion that her death was not a suicide. Saxon, a man of violence, embarks on a revenge mission that shakes up the quiet town of his birth. His quest also awakens a dormant sibling rivalry that puts himself and his brother on a collision course with bloody consequences. Caught in the middle is their Father, now a Minister, the return of Saxon sends him on a crisis of conscience. While he begins to examine his checkered past and lack the courage of his newly found convictions, his sons remain locked in a battle for his approval and affection. (Telefilm Canada)
Starring: Jack Kesy, Amanda Crew, and David Cubitt
Writer: Daniel DiMarco
Director: Daniel DiMarco
Rating: 14A (Canada)/
Running Time: 105mins
Juggernaut follows the Gamble family comprised of brothers Dean (Cubitt) and Saxon (Kesy) along with their father Leonard (Peter McRobbie). The matriarch of the family recently has passed away from an alleged suicide which causes Saxon to return home and re-insert himself in the lives of his brother and father. In doing so, he’s convinced that his mother did not, in fact, commit suicide but instead was murdered. This accusation sets Saxon down a path of self-destruction and discovery in his search for answers that drags everyone close to him into the storm along with him.
What helps Juggernaut succeed is its strong cast. Jack Kesy does an incredible job of bringing Saxon to life as this brooding young man who has nothing to prove in life and simply wants to do right by the only person who has ever loved him, his mother. Most of Kesy’s strength in the character is in what Saxon doesn’t say or show through emotions and resonates throughout the film. Culbitt, Amanda Crew (Amelia) and McRobbie turn in solid performances as the family members around Saxon that easily dismiss him but then slowly begin to realize there is more to his character than their preconceived judgments.
The cinematography was also a welcomed addition in making this film look amazing onscreen. From the opening shot to several other cinematic choices throughout the movie, the cinematography provided the right tone and focus on certain aspects of the story that subtly helped the viewer realize what was important to whatever characters were onscreen. This was best seen through the internal emotions of anger from Saxon echoed in the camera’s movements and point of focus. They were few, but their impact was felt heavily.
While Juggernaut does many things right, it still suffers from what felt like an overly-long screenplay that could’ve easily trimmed several scenes or minutes from the overall runtime and still have been able to achieve its desired effect. There were a handful of scenes that felt unneeded in the narrative that did little to further Saxon’s story. At times, the dialogue didn’t feel completely authentic and was most notable when others were referencing Saxon or his previous behavior. Most of those speeches sounded as if they were delivered via script and not how people would naturally talk, about family no less.
With all of that being said, Juggernaut still manages to tell a very strong and interesting story that does keep the viewer in a place of uncertainty and unrest right up until the very last frame. The film could’ve been slightly shorter and the narrative lags towards the end of the second act as a result, however, the story is worth seeing through until the very end. It has other problems as well, but almost all of them are understandable or better yet, forgivable. Juggernaut was a good watch that won’t find itself on any BEST OF lists, however, it manages to entertain and keep the audience guessing which is worth experiencing if given the time.