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‘Trickster’ Is A Promising New Series That Boasts An Incredible Ensemble of Indigenous Actors – Review

Imagine you are a teenage boy living under difficult circumstances. You have a broken family with a good-natured father who relies on you too much and a mother who parties too hard and might be losing her mind (or already has). In addition, the constant presence of poverty, drugs, alcohol, and social pressures are upon you. Oh, and the man you thought was your father isn’t and you are actually the son of the Haisla trickster, Wee’jit. That’s Jared’s reality in Eden Robinson’s novel Son of the Trickster and now CBC Television’s adaptation, Trickster.

This season of Trickster covers the first novel, which establishes Jared, his family, his community in Kitimat, British Columbia, and his connection to the trickster. The first two episodes of the series which premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, set up the general atmosphere and characters. The set up is very promising, with Jared being a likeable protagonist. Jared’s family suffers from a declining economy in his small town, prospects are slim, and Jared must make due. He is a good kid trying to get through life, perhaps coasting too hard as he is far too brilliant to be selling drugs.

Trickster - Review
(Courtesy of Sienna Films Trickster XIX Inc., Streel Films)

As the first two episodes are predominantly set up, it is safe to say that audiences will have a lot to like as the series unfolds. Firstly, the ensemble of Indigenous actors is excellent starting with our leading man Joel Oulette, who you can tell has a lot to offer as Jared will soon have to face many strange and inexplicable events and beings. Crystle Lightning plays Maggie, Jared’s mother, and her performance is utterly explosive. She expertly plays into Maggie’s waves of mania as well as the quieter moments with Jared. Showing a true range of passion and excitement that gives Maggie that fiery presence that can definitely stand against any threat.

Kalani Queypo, our trickster Wee’jit/Wade doesn’t have a great deal to do, same for Anna Lambe (who was wonderful in The Grizzlies which premiered at TIFF in 2019). Both do a considerable amount of laying the foundation for their characters. Queypo gives you that cool and mischievous trickster energy that you definitely want to see. Hopefully, we get more of his wick Wee’jit/Wade. Meanwhile, Lambe is the complete opposite, and is a calming and warm presence in Jared’s life.

(Courtesy of Sienna Films Trickster XIX Inc., Streel Films)

The series does not go too far into going full-blown supernatural, however, it slowly eases the audience and Jared into it. There is a great deal of effort made to create the sensation of walking into a town that has its secrets, that has definitely been touched by forces unseen and unheard. For this to succeed there needs to be an atmosphere of tension and wonder, and the first two episodes succeed in that regard. We are drawn into the story. From the directing, performances, the lively cinematography and the engaging score and music, Trickster is firing on all cylinders to give the audience an exquisite experience.

Trickster is a promising new series that boasts an incredible ensemble of Indigenous actors, a story about Haisla people and the stories they tell.

Trickster to air weekly on CBC beginning October 7.

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