The shaggy long red hair of Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) serves as a curtain, a blanket, but never a disguise. Most often, her mane is in motion, flapping behind her like a sigil, signaling her approach as she sprints: in fear, or rage, or wanton abandon, sometimes beside her best friend and only ally Chantal (Karena Evans), in Jasmin Mozaffari’s startling debut, “Firecrackers.” We’re introduced to Lou and Chantal during a brutal girl fight that escalates quickly from taunts to blows — it’s them against the world, and they’re going to throw the first punch.
Lou and Chantal live their lives as hard as they can in their small Canadian town, fussing and fighting with aggressive boys and deadbeat moms, because fussing and fighting is all there is to do. They dream of skipping town tomorrow, the next day, or the day after that. They just need a ride. They just need to collect their money from their job cleaning hotel rooms. They just need to get out.
Their escape plan rapidly unravels in this quicksand town and Mozaffari captures it all with a sense of breathless immediacy, a wildly roving handheld camera just trying to keep up.
Kurimsky is astounding as the mercurial, unpredictable Lou, wounded one moment, a warrior the next. “Firecrackers” isn’t just a confident feature debut from Mozaffari, but a daring one, the kind of fast and furious feminine filmmaking that heralds the arrival of several exciting new talents.
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Playing: Available July 12 on VOD