Sweet Karma Film Details
Overview: A mute Russian girl infiltrates Toronto’s underground sex trade to avenge the death of her sister.
Review: I saw the world premiere of this movie at the 2009 Fantasia Movie Festival in Montreal. I went in with an open mind, not necessarily hoping or dreading anything. But I have to admit, my initial thoughts were that the “rape revenge” thing has been done to death. It seems like an easy way to have sex and violence in your movie and draw the most typical movie-watching crowd (ie. an easy way to make a fast buck). Sweet Karma surprised me. Right off the bat, the movie has a very dark and gritty feel to it that draws you in. Shera Bedard is awesome as Karma, avenging the death of her sister. Having the “heroine” be a mute added a great dimension to her character. She does a great job of expressing emotions and intentions through her eyes and body language. She’s really believable as a shy young woman who has nothing left to lose and forces herself to take out her anger on those who’re responsible. This also adds an unexpected complexity to the movie, since Karma can’t tell her story herself. There are sporadic “flashback”-type scenes early on which help to clarify things, and these do a great job of helping us understand what’s going on. Most of the rest of the cast is great too. The Russian accents don’t sound forced or fake. The main “bad guys” are especially despicable, and I found myself wanting Karma to succeed in her self-appointed mission. One exception is John Tokatlidis, who was neither believable nor very interesting. In fact, when his character is focused on about halfway through, the movie’s quality goes down a couple notches. He manages to bring it down all by himself. One of the big draws for me about Sweet Karma is the fact that it’s a purely Canadian movie. The story is based in Toronto, and it was entirely filmed there. Everything was financed by the crew, apparently with no outside help. Unfortunately, it seems like the story could’ve happened anywhere just by changing a few words in the script. There were almost no recognizable Toronto landmarks, and very few Toronto-specific scenes except maybe the airport. There’s a scene near the beginning of the movie where the bad guys are joking about forming a hockey team, but it feels tacked-on and out of place. Almost like someone said “Hey, this movie doesn’t feel Canadian enough, let’s add some hockey dialog!” Despite this, it’s great to see a purely Canadian production that’s so engrossing and entertaining. Maybe the fact that it doesn’t really “feel” Canadian is a good thing since the movie can appeal to a bigger audience outside the country… if they cut out that scene with the hockey dialog. Obviously, sex and violence were portrayed. But not in an over-the-top way, only in a realistic way that fit with the theme of the movie. This definitely isn’t PG-13 stuff, but it’s not gratuitous either. The rest of the audience really seemed to enjoy the movie too. There was loud applause after the credits, and the questions that people asked the crew during the Q&A session showed a lot of interest. I’m really glad I went to see Sweet Karma, it’s an excellent take on the old “revenge” theme. For me, nothing will ever beat High Plains Drifter as the best “revenge” movie, but Sweet Karma comes close, and ranks right up there as one of the best movies I’ve seen recently. For a purely independent film, the production values were really high, even matching or exceeding some of the stuff coming out of Hollywood these days… especially the ones that pretend to be “nitty gritty”.
Language: English, Russian
Duration: 85 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Also known as: Sweet Karma,Сладкая судьба,Russian mafia