Natasha Tabor (Haley Bennett) is a reckless boarding school student who doesn’t care about anything, least of all social class divisions. When out skiing with her rich, ivy-league ready friends, she eyes the ski lift operator named Danny (Shiloh Fernandez) and soon a taboo relationship begins to blossom. Danny is a blue collar college dropout who sacrificed his hockey scholarship when his father died to take care of his family. Working hard so that he can go back to school, Danny takes a liking to Natasha despite her pompous friends and what his mother might think of her.
What Danny doesn’t know is that Natasha is part of a secret society mat school called the Deep Powder Alpine Country Club which makes an annual drug run to Ecuador to pick up some quality cocaine to distribute toe all the areas schools. When Natasha is selected to go she tells her friends she wants to go alone but in reality wants Danny to go on the trip with her. She tells him it’ll be simple, danger free and fun, plus it’s a way he can earn the money needed to return to school. What transpires is anything but risk free and the outcome ends up impacting everyone involved with either of them.
When I had initially read the synopsis of Mo Ogrodnik’s Deep Powder, I got the sense this movie would be a love story meets Miss Bala meets some secret society movie like The Skulls. It would be a drama with suspense, a few thrilling moments, and some romantic scenes but I was way off in my assumption. Deep Powder is a romantic drama, plain and simple. The cocaine run to Ecuador is a small backdrop to a story about how a person who has their life together can easily fall off the wagon when falling in love with a someone else who simply doesn’t have their life together, in this case Danny versus Natasha.
The New England set picture is inspired by true events which explains why the film is formatted in a past and present style. The movie is cut with interviews of people that are connected to the leads but you don’t necessarily know why they are being interviewed when it first starts. Is it because something happened to them? Is it because they died? Is it because they are being interrogated about some event that happened? You’re not entirely sure until about 50-75% of the way into the film and then it becomes very clear and you become curious as to how the final moments of each interview will play out, leading to the ending of the film.
I thought Haley Bennett did an excellent job, she reminded me a lot of Jennifer Lawrence (in looks and style) when she was first getting started with Winter’s Bone. The only difference between the two is that this won’t be the breakout role for Bennett as the film is not nearly as strong as the film’s Lawrence starred in. While I don’t have an acting comparison for Shiloh Fernandez, I thought he was just as strong, delivering a very human and sincere performance about a guy succumbing to the clutches of love. Performance-wise it was far from the campy performance we saw him deliver in the Evil Dead remake (yes, that’s why he looks familiar).
Deep Powder is ultimately a story about risk, love, and sacrifice. Despite what others may have thought, Natasha and Danny were polar opposites that were truly in love and would do anything to prevent the other from ruining the other’s life. It’s this unwavering love dilemma that leads this Romeo & Juliet-like tale down a road where no one ever wants their commitment to the other go.
Overall, Mo Ogrodnik’s film isn’t the most exciting and can feel redundant at times do the amount of love scenes she throws at us, as if we couldn’t figure out the two were truly in love. That being said, Deep Powder is a touching and romantic film that plays on the subtleties of escaping the trappings of society for the one thing that truly makes people happy, a living counterpart who both share an unconditional love for each other.
Rating: A low key love story with a Romeo & Juliet overarching feel to it (6.9/10)