Ordinary Days is a great trip even if you know where you’re headed

There’s really only one thing wrong with Ordinary Days, a three-part mystery directed by a trio of Canadian filmmakers. By the end of Part 2, the central unknown has become known, and the final third of the film, while emotionally gripping in its own right, serves merely to connect A to B, without adding anything new.

That’s not the deal-breaker it might seem, however. The performances get better as the film goes along, so it’s still an intensely watchable finale.

A brief prologue sees university student Cara (Jacqueline Byers) bump something with her car. She looks annoyed more than anything, but the subsequent chapter finds her parents (Torri Higginson, Richard Clarkin) growing increasingly worried that she hasn’t answered their texts or phone calls in several days.

Part 2 follows Jonathan Brightbill (Michael Xavier), a detective with his own personal problems and a tangential connection to the missing woman. He quickly settles on a local loner as his prime suspect; after all, the man was implicated in another disappearance that ended in death.

Part 3 then gives us Cara’s version of events, with Byers (TV’s Salvation) delivering a harrowing portrait of a woman in distress. I was reminded of James Franco’s performance in 127 Hours for its sheer intensity. Sometimes you can know exactly where a story is going, and still cling on, white-knuckled, for the ride.

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