If you’ve grown up on the American side of Niagara Falls, Clifton Hill means two things. The Ontario tourist destination is an enjoyably garish bit of Las Vegas lite–Ferris wheels, wax museums, casinos. And it’s also the must-visit for 19-year-old Americans looking to drink legally. Director Albert Shin
’s Clifton Hill
is an intriguing cocktail of secrets, lies, run-down motels, flashing lights, and glitzy entertainment with a dark underbelly. In other words, the Hill’s moment in the spotlight is also some rather devastating PR for Niagara Falls upon the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
It is important to note, however, that Shin’s film is set during the off-season, a chilly stretch of time in which the number of visitors decreases. Most of the locations visited by Abby, deftly played by Tuppence Middleton
, are lonely, somber, and cold. Shin sets this tone from the opening scenes.