Director: Lance Edmands

Starring: Amy Morton, John Slattery, Louisa Krause, Emily Meade, Margo Martindale, Adam Driver

Running time: 90 minutes

Synopsis: In the northern reaches of Maine, a local school bus driver becomes distracted during her end-of-day inspection, and fails to notice a sleeping boy in the back of the bus. What happens next shatters the tranquility of her small Maine logging town, proving that even the slightest actions have enormous consequences.

The gloves are off (mind the frostbite) and we’re playing the blame game in this small town community drama from first time feature director Lance Edmands. When kind, calm school bus driver Lesley (Amy Morton) accidentally leaves a young boy sleeping overnight on her bus in freezing conditions, the future of her and her family becomes uncertain as questions are asked of her character and negligence.

The small town stereotypes are out in their droves but if you can look past these the characters are given their own sets of subtleties to differentiate from those gone before. Particularly interesting are two of the smaller female roles; Lesley’s daughter Paula (Emily Meade) and the mother of the injured boy, Marla (Louisa Krause). Both play disengaged in their own way and showcase how a desire to feel, coupled with small town suffocation, can significantly alter behaviour in a self destructive way.

The contrasting peaceful surroundings and character inner turmoils are captured with a striking eye by cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes – a hit on the festival set with not just this film, but previous works MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE and TINY FURNITURE. With a pointedly laconic script from Edmands, focus shifts to the interplay of character and landscape with nature captivating its’ audience.

Edmands has created a slow-burning, authentic debut; shining a light on guilt and its all-encompassing effect. With his subtly expressive techniques, it will be interested to see his next move in feature film-making.

[usr=3] BLUEBIRD is on limited release in the USA and also available now on VOD. For more information visit their website.