Maybe nine for the rating is too much, but the film is pretty unknown and I thought that eight would be just too low.
The Price of Milk (2000)
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Maybe nine for the rating is too much, but the film is pretty unknown and I thought that eight would be just too low.
Rob is a serious, hard-working man in rural New Zealand. He has a large herd of dairy cattle, just a few less than 200. He doesn't know them by name, unless you consider "number 47" a name. But he addresses them very affectionately, we instantly know he loves his milk cows.
Rob's girlfriend is Lucinda, they are getting married, but she does various tests to make sure he loves her, since Rob is not very demonstrative. One of them is to show up swimming in his large vat of milk, ruining Rob says 1500 dollars of milk (New Zealand dollars, I presume). That is where the movie gets its title, I suppose, "The price of milk." Now if I had been Rob, I would have written Lucinda off as too crazy, too high-maintenance to endure. And especially so after she decides to sell my herd of milk cows to buy back a quilt that was stolen off them at night. But I am American, and apparently New Zealander sentiments run quite different.
Anyway it is a quirky story. It includes a dog that is afraid of the outsides so it goes around under an inverted lid-less cardboard box. There is a curve that must be tricky because often the car will skid of the road and end up inverted. But they seem to accept that as a "normal" occurrence.
So see it if you are in the mood for a very quirky movie that doesn't always make sense. Danielle Cormack is Lucinda. Karl Urban Rob. And Willa O'Neill is Drosophila, Lucinda's friend who gives her sometimes questionable advice.
It started out interesting... in fact, it brought up the cute topic of some women that begin collecting baby clothes for "one day"... however, at almost the halfway mark the movie took a turn towards nightmare-ville when she rolled her car yet again. It seemed like the first part of the movie was made by a gifted writer and the last half was written by my son Alex (who can't read or write yet). If you are contemplating suicide, don't watch this movie as it will more than likely push you over the edge.
I find myself wishing for other filmmakers to use this -- what is usually called magical realism -- in different ways.
Hal Hartley, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, even early Cronenberg Maddin made me hope that a Canadian tradition would sustain a second tradition, one with more powerful emotional abstractions not so dependent on genitals.
Here in New Zealand films, I may have discovered another possible home for my constructive retreats.
This little film tries all sorts of magical things. That they often are unsuccessful and often have no connective logic makes them more attractive, more engaging. All the magic here is cinematic, every device.
Three shots were pretty memorable. One had a long red silk fabric train while our actress walked diagonally across the bright green hill we were by then familiar with. One was when we re-enter the world of physical touch that we had hoped for. Her hand appears from nowhere to caress his head. Very rewarding.
The third is of a different order. I won't describe it in detail but it is the payoff, built up through many images. It is of a young woman reaching for the shod foot of a toddler sticking out of a cloud and not quite reachable. Its really quite lovely.
The woman in question is truly a striking actress, Danielle Cormack, who seems to limit herself to local indie films and stupid TeeVee. Well, she is one of the best mouth actresses I have seen.
I really liked this. It seems to be a voyage through womanhood for men, and I learned.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
Danielle Cormack plays Lucinda, a beautiful young woman living on a dairy farm with her lover, Rob (Karl Urban). For reasons not totally clear, Lucinda takes the advice of her friend Drosophila (Willa O'Neill) and does some truly hateful things to determine whether Rob really loves her. (The friend's name is a joke--Drosophila is the Latin word for fruit fly.)
The film is very strange. Apparently, the actors and director hung out on the set and made up dialog and action as they went along. Maori characters appear and disappear, and one of them is a (sort of) kindly witch. This type of effort can be charming, but in this case it didn't work--at least not for me.
"The Price of Milk" had some definite strengths. Danielle Cormack is a sophisticated movie star, but she's able to convince us that she's a simple farm girl who enjoys taking a bath in milk. The scenery is lush and green. The movie is true to itself--it never steps back and says, "OK, now the magical part is over and we get real." There's an Indian wedding ceremony, and an agoraphobic dog that walks around covered by a carton. (How bad can a movie be when an agoraphobic dog is a member of the supporting cast?)
This movie is worth seeing if you run across it. I don't think it's worth seeking out. Incidentally, we saw this film on DVD. The New Zealand scenery would probably be even more beautiful on a large screen.
I like the movies that make you think. Our minds need to work hard because in my opinion we are not going for the right way in this world. As the majority we like the cinema, which is the best way to start doing it?
Sorry if somebody has problems for understand me, sometimes it's difficult to express in English my thoughts.
The actors & actresses were extremely convincing, the cinematography was quite skillful, and the setting was idyllic. I almost wish I could visit the shooting location. The scenario was true-to-life in a very abstract way, punctuating some of the most topsy-turvy and emotional aspects of a relationship. In a way, they are outlining a stereotypical relationship, paying special attention to the subtler aspects of a marriage.
If you have never had a long-term relationship, some aspects of this movie might not make a heck of a lot of sense to you.
In the end, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes to figure out metaphors and symbolism. There are no explosions. :D
Karl Urban is fabulous. I don't believe his talents are being fully utilized. Danielle Cormack is quite fun to watch. Her facial expressions are delightful.
The story could have been filled out a little more but had a unique and mysterious quality that I appreciated. While I don't like some of the decisions the characters made concerning their relationships...I think this was a sweet little story with a decidedly indie feel to it. I enjoyed it.
I was already laughing even before the opening credits finished, but the movie as a whole is well-balanced between comedy and drama. (And there's an actual coherent plot in there, really). Though the story focuses mainly on Lucinda, the mistakes she makes and her attempts to put them right and win back Rob's heart, it's Rob himself that I feel for throughout the movie.
It's not without flaws (no movie is without flaws). Lucinda comes across as a bit of a fruit-loop, with her collection of baby shoes and going nuts with a rifle. Also I wasn't always sure if I was watching a deliberately surreal happening, or if it was just a continuity error (of which there seemed to be several).
But there is some stunning screenplay here; in particular, Lucinda running across a green hillside in a red sari with the long train trailing behind. In the end the flaws don't actually matter that much. Not everyone will understand this movie, but that's not its purpose. The secret to this one is just to relax and not try too hard.
Avoid this movie at all costs. You have only a certain number of hours on the Earth, don't waste 1&1/2 of them on this retarded steaming heap of Guano!!!
There is no story as apparently the director "wrote" (and I'm guessing with a blunt orange crayon) the next day's script at the completion of the day's shooting. The "story" has been called whimsical, no it is aimless, there is maybe enough "story" to fill a commercial. Don't you hate ads?
Now while both leads can act they obviously decided not to here. And similarly the writer/director can actually both write and direct as evidenced by his next work "Toy Love"
So to recap, even if you get this movie for free, even if you're paid to watch it avoid it.
To paraphrase Monty Python's Search for the holy Grail, "Run flee!"
A coherent plot is hiding in there somewhere, but the movie is as much a collection of unexpected events as it is aanything else. This is at first charming and cute; an early scene with Rob and Lucinda sharing a bath, for example, is particularly clever.
The amusement level is high at first, but eventually the movie just gets tiring. After a certain point, I started to wish that they would just get on with it and stop throwing in so many additional complications. Fortunately the producers came to their senses somewhere along the line, as the movie is short enough that it doesn't wear out its welcome completely by the end.
The first time I got to watch it was X-mas 2002 when I stayed up til 5 am just so I could watch it uninterrupted. I have since bought a DVD of it.
What really drew my attention was the music and the cinematography. The part of the movie that has really stayed fresh in my mind is when Lucinda is wearing the sari and is coming across the mountain looking for Rob. The way the material (and the contrast of it) drapes against the mountain is somewhat breathtaking. The classical piece that is playing then is called "The Distant Princess" and Harry Sinclair (director) really knew how to cue the visual shot and the music so they could be played at the right time. If you're the type of person to be stirred by visuals and soundtrack, this is a great movie to watch.
Who cares if this movie was pieced together? These kind of movies have a wonderful, quirky sensibility to them. On the DVD, Harry Sinclair and Danielle Cormack comment on how the movie was filmed and how interesting it was to NOT have a script written beforehand. Sinclair mentioned that he didn't want the actors to be too rehearsed and then have the lines sound too cheesy. He also mentions that he thought of the plot one day while riding around in NZ in his car listening to a classical music piece. (Most likely,one of the one's in the film)
Now, not everyone can get away with saying that there was nothing wrong with the movie. One of things that really bothered me was Auntie's, Mrs. Jackson's, furry pink hat. I wanted to shoot that thing! It annoyed me every time she wore it or when replicas of it ended up on the big bush outside of Lucinda and Rob's little house. Every single time I saw it, I wanted to jump through the screen and tell Lucinda to run for it and take Rob with her. Of course, though, that's exactly what the audience is supposed to feel about the hat and Auntie's presence (at least I felt that way)
Another thing is when Rob and Drosophila are at the church and Lucinda is being comforted by Mrs. Jackson in the woods. I wanted to know what prompted Auntie's change of heart towards Lucinda. I mean, Lucinda really dug a hole around herself by giving up her ring for the cows. But that's where the title comes into play, "The Price Of Milk". It couldn't very well be "The Price of Love" The audience can feel her desperation for being so foolish by playing with her love for Rob.
New Zealand appears to be a great place to film movies, not just this one but also LOTR trilogy and many others. So many different extremes in a small country. It's amazing what types of climates and differences in land you can utilize. Movies like this one should be appreciated more for their originality and uniqueness.
*spoilers ahead* I particularly loved the upside-down cars bit and the agoraphobic dog [really funny, but apparently a response to the low budget and a compromise between the actor playing the dairy farmer wanting the character to have a dog and the director not wanting to deal with a real dog on set.]
The film is at least saved by the often visually stunning imagery and general views of the New Zealand(?) countryside (I'd own the film for that detail alone) if not the quality of the acting from the main characters (if you ignore the often very fantastical story line).
Watch this film on a slow and lazy day.