Triple threat Agam Darshi makes Regina her stage

Film | Jorge Ignacio Castillo | March 10, 2022

Roxy Theatre
Opens March 11
3 out of 5

Since the Saskatchewan government refuses to provide incentives for film productions (the fact the story of Percy Schmeiser had to be filmed in MB is beyond appalling), it’s always a surprise when a movie shot in the province makes it to theatres.

Regina is prominently featured in Donkeyhead, a dramedy written, directed and starring Agam Darshi who, for the most part, pulls off the triple-duty. Darshi plays Mona, a rudderless wannabe writer (of course) who cares for her cancer-ridden, traditionalist Sikh father. She uses her burden as an excuse for her writer’s block and general unwillingness to move forward with her life.

Mona’s carefully engineered martyrdom comes crashing down when her dad suffers a stroke and ends up in a coma he’s unlikely to emerge from. The event brings all her siblings back into town. They’re all successful and none of them want Mona caring for their father.

But Mona isn’t going to let the status quo vanish without a fight, and insists their father should be at home and not in a hospital. Her reasons, turns out, go beyond self-justification: her dad never gave her any recognition for any aspect of her life and she doesn’t want him to go without at least a word of acknowledgement.

Donkeyhead is at its best when it focuses on Mona’s tailspin which is well-drawn, complex, and alternatively entertaining and horrible to watch. The contrast with her one-dimensional siblings is stark. Their individual dramas are shallow and predictable. The script also falters at the end with an unearned resolution that’s a little too neat considering the chaos that preceded it.

Like a proper SK production, Donkeyhead features Saskatoon’s Kim Coates in a supporting role as Mona’s married lover. Coates gets to show his comedic chops which is actually a nice change from his harder-edged work.

Overall, sure, support the local industry (as decimated as it is) but keep your expectations in check.