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In Sunray, a backwater town on Australia's Murray River, there's little to do but fish or listen to the local radio station. D.J. Ken Sherry arrives from the hustle of Brisbane to run the station; he's mid-40s, detached, thrice divorced, hatchet faced. But both sisters next door find him attractive: awkward Dimity, only 20, who works in a Chinese restaurant with few patrons, and perky Vicki-Ann, a hairdresser with a hope chest who invents a happy future with Sherry based on little but his arrival. First Dimity then Vicki-Ann spend the night with Ken, one concluding he's her boy friend, the other her fiance. Then Dimity begins to smell something fishy. Written by
For those of us who are not MTV Generationers, the people who live for bang-bang, shoot-'em-up and blow-'em-up three-second cuts in every movie they see, little gifts are occasionally given. Such as "Love Serenade."
"Love Serenade" is a calm, quiet mini-masterpiece in Super Slo-Mo from Down Under by Shirley Barrett, in her first-ever attempt at a full-length theatrical movie. As writer-director, she has crafted a film that is best appreciated by true aficionados of the art form.
The story, in miniature. Ken Sherry is a shopworn, middle-aged Aussie DJ in Brisbane. Having tired of the big city and just coming off his third divorce, he heads for south Australia and the sleepy little burg of Sunray, there to begin life anew. Unwittingly, he moves in next door to the two love-starved Hurley sisters, neither of whom, unfortunately for Ken, is named Elizabeth. Most of the story has to do with the two sisters battling for the attention and affection of the new arrival, plus his reaction to said battle and how he takes advantage of their duo-longing for him.
The actor/actresses portraying the film's three main protagonists are uniformly outstanding in their roles. As Ken, George Shevtsov is so laid back, you wonder how he manages to stay awake. Even during sex! As the prototypical male lothario, he is able to stay plenty enough awake, however, to take full advantage of the two sisters'.....ahem....."favors." Vicki-Ann (Rebecca Frith) makes no secret of her desire to land this man at all costs. The town of Sunray, obviously, must REALLY be hurting for available decent men to evoke such desperation in a woman.
But it is Miranda Otto as the younger sister who almost steals the movie from her two co-stars. As the apropos-named Dimity ("Dimwitty" would have been even better), she operates on low-wattage brainpower and just can't get a clue about the game of love. However, it is she who, in a one-time display of intelligentsia, provides the movie's near-shocking twist and climax.
The movie and story are much enhanced by a soundtrack comprised, in great part, by Barry White love songs from the 1970s, as well as some other songs of that like from the same era. This "love soundtrack" adds just the right theme to the two sisters looking for love in all the wrong places (translation: Ken's house).
For anyone interested in an Aussie take on how three different characters might attempt to play the game of love in Super Slo-Mo, this quirky black comedy is for you. All others, stay away. Your next knuckle-bruiser awaits.
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