Tribeca Breakdown: "Deep Powder"


Plot:  Taking place in a small, snowy New England town during 1981, the film loosely tells the true story of a club of prep school kids who every year had a tradition of going up to Ecuador to buy cocaine. The film is about Danny (Shiloh Fernandez), a kid from the poor side of town who had to quit school when his dad died of cancer and his mom needed help with Danny’s younger siblings, and Natasha (Haley Bennett), one of the prep school kids at Mount Ambrose involved in this club. Natasha is an emotional wreck; her mother killed herself when she was a girl and her dad is distant with her, but she is kind to Danny and even smitten by him. When she is chosen by the club to do this Ecudaor run, he decides to go along with her.



You can see the tragic love story written on the wall with “Deep Powder”, director Mo Ogrodnik’s directorial debut. 

There’s, of course, the “Romeo and Juliet” theme, two people from different walks of life coming together all to the dislike of the people around them. Both are also two people with a large amount of baggage. Danny is a decent kid handling the responsibilities that come with helping a mom and taking care of younger siblings, but he’s fidgety and anxious. He wants to move away away from the tragedies of the past and enjoy a life, which is what fascinates him most about the richer club kids; that they can be so free. For Natasha, she has the money but the situation with her parents only makes her want to search for more freedom.  

For Danny the reason to do this is the money. For Natasha it’s the adventure. And for both it’s the risk that makes them feel more alive. It’s a bit on the cliched side but it’s very well acted by both Fernandez and Bennett, the former being the solid rock for the later, who has a nice smile and infectious personality, but one thats masks an inner pain. They’re chemistry is charming, sexy, and dangerous.

Ogrodnik creates tension where she can and provides some nice insight into the characters by inserting grainy video depositions of the actors playing the rest of the club members. The ending is also nicely ambiguous. “Deep Powder” owes a lot to literature and narratives of the past but the cast is solid and direction are both solid enough to make it one of the more interesting movies at the festival.


3.5 out of 5