Down to the Dirt

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 6


Audience Score

User Ratings: 84
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Movie Info

Joel Thomas Hyne's acclaimed novel about a Newfoundland drug addict's attempts to make sense of his own warped existence serves as the foundation for this poetic yet visceral addiction drama that stars the author himself as the damaged protagonist. Keith Kavanagh (Hyne) is a collection of contradictions; he's a coward, a bully, and a clown all at once, and his life is a mess of complicated relationships. Though he longs to start life anew somewhere else, he lacks the motivation to put any genuine effort into doing so. The only thing that Keith knows is that he wants off of the Rock, and he loves his girlfriend Natasha (Mylène Savoie). The first time we see Keith he is lying motionless and bloodied, quite possibly dead. Though it appears to be the end, this is actually the starting point as the viewer travels back in time to see how Keith began his descent into a life of drug pushing, unfaithfulness, and torture. It's not always a pleasant ride, because despite the fact that Keith can at times be a sympathetic figure, a closer look reveals an impulsive, amoral degenerate who seems hell bent on self-destruction.


Joel Thomas Hynes
as Keith Kavanaugh
Mylène Savoie
as Natasha Healy
Mylène Savoie
as Natasha Healy
Robert Joy
as Robert Kavanaugh
Sherry White
as Sally Anne
Jody Richardson
as Francey O'Dea
Mary Lewis
as Nora Healy
Phil Churchill
as Andy O'Toole
Paula Morgan
as Mavis Kavanaugh
Lois Brown
as Miss Sheppard
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Critic Reviews for Down to the Dirt

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (3)

  • We know how his story will unfold.

    Dec 5, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • By the time the movie finally gets round to the narrator enumerating the life lessons learned, viewers may already be sleeping it off.

    Dec 5, 2008 | Rating: 2/4
  • The movie, directed by first-timer Simms, gets really interesting -- in a squalid, darkly humorous, Atlantic Canada Gothic kinda way.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Many viewers will find time spent with this hapless screw-up two hours too many, but the pic does at least partly capture the source material's rambunctious gallows humor.

    Sep 15, 2008

    Dennis Harvey

    Top Critic
  • Hynes is really effective as Keith, at ease with the rude, raw material that's drawn from his own past, and he manages to be charismatic even at his most down and dirty.

    Dec 5, 2008 | Rating: 3/5
  • uncommonly disagreeable effort that's destined to turn off most mentally-stable viewers.

    Sep 8, 2008 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Down to the Dirt

  • Oct 27, 2009
    This is a Canadian film about two young Newfoundlanders angry at the world. This young man and girl fall in love and leave their small home and move to the city of St. John's. Everything is fine at first but they grow apart. The girl then moves to Halifax, NS and the young man follows shortly after to try and get her back. Of course his life is crashing around him because or drugs and alcohol. This is a very odd film at times. I could never seem to relate or like the young man. He was angry with life but they never really got into why he was. Not a bad ending to the film. But overall I found this to be a odd and at times boring movie.
    Corey n Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2009
    This film is a depressing coming-of-age story based upon Newfoundland author Joel Hynes' first novel. It's gritty and dirty in the depiction of the main character's plummet from small community- troubled teen to a drug and alcohol addicted young man bent on self destruction.The author portrays the main character quite well and has some promise as an artist and author. I have'nt read the book but the film is OK...It's immature in development and chock full of cliches but this young man does a decent job of portraying his main character's angst and eventual enlightenment. A very good first project...
    Audrey L Super Reviewer

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