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The Strange Ones: A Nuanced Reality

I’m still not entirely sure I understand the ending of The Strange Ones, the new psychological drama from directors Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff. There are so many layers and points-of-view of what-is-real and what isn’t, that it can take some time for your mind to unpack what it just saw. One thing is for sure though; you will remember the performance of James Freedson-Jackson, the film’s lead.

Freedson-Jackson gives a hauntingly nuanced performance as Sam, the younger brother to Alex Pettyfer’s Nick. The Strange Ones sees Nick taking Sam on a camping and hunting trip after the death of their father. However, as one might surmise, not all is as it seems. We don’t really know anything about either character, which only further elevates the film’s overall theme and structure: what is reality really?

While at times, Radcliff and Wolkstein try and do too much, the opposite can be said of Freedson-Jackson. In one of those less-is-more type performances, he brings a level a nuance to a 14 year old character, that many – if not most – adult actors still find difficult to access. In the days of blockbusters and big acting styles, it is refreshing to come across an actor who can portray such layered subtlety. (Side note: would love to see Freedson-Jackson star opposite Canadian indie darling and noted silence queen Julia Sarah Stone) We are sure to see more of James Freedson-Jackson in the future.

The Strange Ones co-stars Gene Jones and Orange Is The New Black’s Emily Althaus and hits theatres January 5th.

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