We’re dropped into a fouler-than-foul-mouthed shouting match in the parking lot at school, teenage girls unloading a Marine platoon’s worth of threats and profanity at each other.
That leads to a shocking brawl, followed by a celebratory light-up and inhale in a friend’s new pickup.
Yeah, these two girls are not to be trifled with. Scary “Firecrackers,” the both of them. And damn, they’re CANADIAN!
Jasmin Mozaffari’s debut feature is a bracing blast of teen feminine rage, two friends too tight to be mere “friends” in full revolt against the sexism, classism and dead-end futures facing them in the small Canadian town where they’re growing up.
Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) is the raging redhead, seething through life towards a graduation she’s set to skip so that they can “go far away and never have to see any of these f—–g people ever again!”
Chantal (Karena Evans), her striking bi-racial best friend, is just as furious to flee, although she’s a tad less violent than Lou.
It’s not just high school and the drudgery of cleaning disgusting motel rooms part-time that they’re escaping. It’s the piggish boys, the limited, mistake-prone parents who didn’t get away and thus are Exhibit A as to why the girls should.
And those are the people whose interference threatens to derail their plans, their connection and their friendship.
Writer-director Mozaffari serves up a world of dysfunction and challenges facing the two, mainly Lou, whose temper makes the “fiery redhead” cliche come to life.
She has a tweenage brother (Callum Thompson) who borrows her clothes and her makeup. Single mom (Tamara LeClair) can feed and house them in the hovel they live in, but a child experimenting with his sexuality is more than she can take. She’s taken up with and taken in an ex-junkie (David Kingston) years and years her junior, but that doesn’t mean she’ll stop impotently attempting to discipline Lou.
“‘D’you get in a fight again? D’you pass any of your classes?”
Chantal has had enough of fending off the clueless questions from her yokel classmates — “‘How’d you get your hair like that? Is that NATURAL? I’m whiiiite!'” And she’s just ditched her brutish boyfriend (Dylan Mask) — she thinks — so that she and Lou can take off for New York.
The story may be overly familiar, but the language is slangy and crude, the sex is teen-impulsive and primitive, and the confrontations — on a littered beach, in that school parking lot, in a pool hall — are alarming.
“Firecrackers” is a simple tale told with a raw ferocity and fuse-burning-down dread for the explosions to come.
And in Kurimsky, a production designer and sometime actress, and Evans (of TV’s “Mary Kills People”), Mozaffari has stars who lay it all out there, daring us to root for their sometimes repellent characters, two bad girls reminding us of every bad choice we ever made and making us fear for the ones they do.
MPAA Rating: unrated, violence, sex, cigarettes, profanity
Cast: Michaela Kurimsky, Karena Evans, Gabe Meacher, Callum Thompson and Scott Cleland
Credits: Written and directed by Jasmin Mozaffari. A Good Deed release.
Running time: 1:33