Set in 1980’s Newfoundland, Black Conflux explores the life of Jackie, a troubled teenage girl, and Dennis, a lonesome man, as they both struggle with their sad lives. Small town blues resulting in depression, alienation, and hopeless all impact these two individuals as they try to make something of themselves. Both want more but both are limited to the town and resources that are available to them.
Black Conflux really does an excellent job of exploring the fruitlessness of small-town living. Jackie, a young teen in high school, lives a boring and even depressive life. Her life feels as though it has almost no meaning to it. Because there’s little to do in Newfoundland, she and her friends spend their time drinking, smoking and, when they’re really bored, just hanging out at the mall. Dennis is in a similar situation, working a dead-end warehouse job for scraps with nothing to look forward to on a daily basis. Frustrated and empty, everything in their lives seems to lead to more disappointment. Even so, they both crave more, whether it’s wanting to move away to a big city or meet that special someone. Black Conflux showcases the struggles that average people in a small town endure and how their ordinary lives can be a strenuous journey.
Black Conflux also takes a look into gender issues and the ways that both men and women have been treated or stereotyped in the recent past. For instance, this becomes particularly clear when one character is almost raped by a long-time friend. Because the young man has been portrayed as a sweet and kind guy, the victim struggles to find others who believe her story, even calling her a tease. In this moment, the films showcases how poorly women have been treated, with others minimizing the effects of rape and victim shaming. Plus, this scene also highlights the fact that even someone close to you can be a potential assaulter.
At the same time, Dennis personifies toxic masculinity. He’s angry, brooding, and aggressive but also kind of sad and pathetic. The notion that a men must be smart, successful, confident, and persuasive definitely weighs on him. His love/sex life is not what he wants it to be. His career as a warehouse stocker leads to nothing but his boss belittling him. In this way, Black Conflux points to the depressive effects of toxic masculinity before it even had a name, and how devasting it can affect the mental health of some men. As both Dennis and Jackie process their feelings of guilt and shame, they also must fight to recognize that they are not merely the sum of their own pain. Instead, regardless of what may have happened in the past, what you do next is what really matters.
Overall, Black Conflux is a powerful film that show the struggles that men and women face on a daily basis. Even though it’s set in the 1980s, its exploration of gender issues feels current and serve as a reminder of the challenges that both genders must endure.
Black Conflux is available on VOD and Digital now.