|Index||4 reviews in total|
As an Australian who has lived in communities similar to the one
depicted in this TV series, I can assure viewers it is *not*
over-stated or exaggerated in any way - and in some communities even
now, similar problems are occurring.
A young Cate Blanchett is absolutely remarkable, and Ernie Dingo performs marvelously in one of his few dramatic roles at the time. The soundtrack is also excellent.
I strongly recommend that any person with an interest in indigenous life vs white life in rural centres of Australia watch this series ... it may open eyes for some.
This story centers around a black community in Australia and
particularly Vincent (played by Ernie Dingo) who works for the local
police department as a liaison officer and Beth (played by Cate
Blanchett) who moves into the community with the intention of fixing up
and selling her late grandfather's house. As Beth becomes more involved
in the community, she develops relationships that are more important to
her than she would have though possible. Throughout the many important
events played out in the series (divorce, murder, traditions, newfound
relatives, friendship, and love) a theme of awareness about strained
relationships and inequalities between white and black people living in
Australia is ever present as the characters face hardships and burn the
bridges of their pasts.
Ernie Dingo has an instant charm that shines through in this miniseries. Cate Blanchett has been called a human chameleon with the face of an angel, but her hearty laugh and incredibly endearing child-like quality shows through in everything she does. All of the actors in this series are very impressive and easily make the viewer want to invest themselves in the characters' fates. The story plays out like a good book, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good story as well as a challenge to think outside their own "boxes" to see a different view.
Although I have only seen the first 5 episodes of this series I can
tell you it's very much worth watching. I haven't seen a lot of okker
TV, but this sure beats almost any series I have ever seen on American
TV, (which in most cases isn't saying much).
The cinematography really stands out among a lot of elements that also stand out. Though shot on video in 1994 DP Geoffrey Manias used motion picture lenses and achieved lots of frames that would be at home in a mainstream film feature. I don't think I have ever watched a show shot on pre High-Def video that used depth of field and many of wonderful angles to such great affect.
The native Austrailians really shine here. The young man accused of killing his girlfriend (Ricky?) delivers a performance every bit bit as good as Blanchett's. His downfall is convincing and puts a face on the plight of Native peoples overrun by whites all over the planet. His family and the family of the dead girl also do great jobs and make the story live.
Cate Blanchett shows the talent that has made her the star she is today. I find her a joy to watch no matter what she does. Her character is compleat and complicated and unpredictable.
Ernie Dingo did a great job of writing the scripts that highlight the problems that still face the Aboriiginal people today. I am sad to see he has not written more shows that got on TV or made into movies.
I'm of the school that the real meat of movies is in their structure,
in how they insert themselves into our lives. And that has little to do
with what people normally associated with movies: the actors. Very few
actors are interesting in any way, and often they actually fight what
the filmmaker intends, if she is interesting.
I have only a few actors I can respect. One of them is Cate Blanchett. This is her first project and is worth watching just because of that.
She just seems to understand how narrative is folded, so can support the intent of what the deeper texture of the film is. This has nothing to do with character and emotion and all that normal stuff, and it seems to be unique to the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art, where she studied.
The sum of that introduction is that if you, dear reader, are entering a life in film as a sensitive watcher, you need to study how successful entries were done. If one of your admired actors is Cate, this is where you will end up.
The project itself is pure drek, designed to sell beer or whatever else Australians buy. It plays with their national shame about race and predictably goes way too far. Movies cannot help themselves now: all indigenous people are noble deep down. So the setting here is something of a cross between "Song of the South," with an embarrassing Uncle Remus character, and "Whale Runner," which assumes native superstitions are somehow different than European ones in nobility more real.
The plot is unremarkable, grinding away with all the normal TeeVee fare, parceled out with one disclosure per episode. It has absolutely nothing to recommend it but Cate.
Ah, but what a Cate! This was before she got into the Hollywood habit of body toning. And before she learned to carry her body expressively. But she already is transcendent in how she presses expressions through her face into our souls. This is a woman dedicated to reaching us and you can see it even here.
Its so odd, that strange face projecting such angelic appeal.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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