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Harley Jane Kozak,
A story about human nature. Two characters depict their soul and personality on the prelude of a deal. 1989 shows the tragedy of violence, not as an act, but as a never ending spiral of short repeated stories.
In this sci-fi adventure a gorgeous alien woman is sent to Earth by mistake from the planet Epsilon. Landing in the Australian outback she meets a surveyor and they cross the continent together. However, she spends the trip haranguing him for the ecological recklessness and avarice of the human race. Written by
This film had the potential to be a truly great flick .. but was let down badly by its 'sledgehammer' approach to environmental issues, and the appallingly bad acting in the closing scene.
As an armchair greenie, I was pleased to see a film that brought the issues of sustainable resource development to the forefront .. but the continuous hammering on a single issue became annoying.
There are, however, some excellent moments in the movie.
The concept of "You breathe the foul air" as a dismissive insult is particularly evocative, and the ever-changing scenery does far more to draw attention to Ullie Birve's 'alien-ness' as She than all of Hollywood's FX could ever do.
Unlike most science-fiction of the 90s, this was not a chance to show off technological whizz-bangery .. and Rolf de Heer has, with just a few camera angle & location changes, done a masterful job of showing us changed perceptions.
Syd Brisbane, another de Heer favourite, plays the role of The Man with just the right combination of wide-eyed wonderment and plodding suburban pig-headedness .. but there needed to be more made of his Saul-like conversion if his later, unseen role was to be believed.
Which brings us to the final scene.
Althea McGrath's narration was quietly brilliant throughout the film, and her on-camera acting in the final scene was OK, if not outstanding. But oh, her grandchildren ...
Chloe and Phoebe Ferguson got quite good reviews for their roles in another de Heer film, "The Quiet Room" .. but unfortunately in Epsilon, their minor (but crucial) roles as "Child" and "Child" in the campfire sequence don't work.
In fact, the closing scene makes the entire movie like the fire itself: it casts light, it crackles and flares .. but eventually the wooden performances in the dying embers of the film leave nothing but ashes .. and the mood that de Heer has tried to conjure up blows away like so much smoke.
Which is a pity because, as I began, this movie could have been so much more.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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