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|Index||23 reviews in total|
Oyster Farmer is a very enjoyable romantic comedy, one of the best I've
seen for a while.
Why is it so good? The plot is entertaining, well thought out and moves at a rapid pace - I didn't detect any real lulls. The characters are what you'd expect of a working class rural Australian community - warts and all. I didn't recognise any of the actors from other films but I think they did a great job of getting the viewer into the story. In addition I laughed out loud a number of times - not something that happens too often!!
I really enjoyed the aerial shots of the Hawkesbury River, very relaxing and reminding me of a holiday I once spent in the region.
Overall Oyster Farmer is a real gem.
I think this is a lovely movie, which portrays the shellfish industry
in an 'as it is' warts and all manner, more usually attributed to
documentaries than to movies. The location is great and beautiful in a
run down, natural, kind of way. You can tell that the film makers just
used the natural fabric of the place rather than tried to build a set.
The river is shown in all its glory and the love story itself is very
Having worked in the shellfish industry in the UK I could easily relate to the roughish characters portrayed here.
A great Australian romantic comedy about life and love on the Hawksbury
River. The scenes in this film are all very beautiful and captivating,
with mention of popular tourist destinations such as Gosford.
New to the big screen, actor Alex O'Lachlan shines as the clumsy thief with the unfortunate name, Jack Flange who robs the local fish markets in order to pay for his sisters hospital bills after a car accident. Jack then posts the money to himself but it suspiciously never arrives and he begins to suspect everyone around him of taking it.
Jack Thompson makes an appearance and Dianna Glenn is charming as the lovable Pearl.
If you like Australian films, you'll love The Oyster Farmer.
"Oyster Farmer" is a warm, refreshing, Australian take on the
old-fashioned genre of the secretive, hunky stranger with a murky past
shaking up a small community.
Alex O'Lachlan in his notable debut as "Jack Flange" is very much like William Holden in "Picnic" and Paul Newman in "The Long Hot Summer." While debut writer/director Anna Reeves certainly appreciates his visual and visceral assets, his character's mysteriously tattooed masculinity is a Sensitive New Age Guy metrosexual compared to the hard-working blokes along the mangroves of the isolated Hawkesbury River north of Sydney, which looks a lot like the bayou country of Louisiana that has been similarly used for sultry effect in movies like "The Big Easy."
While it's a bit confusing at first to sort out the relationships (let alone the basics of oyster farming), partly due to the accents, in this tight and quirky Brooklyn where everyone knows generations of everybody's paternity, marital disputes, personal business, and, particularly for the plot, their mail, the gradual revelations add to our enjoyment of the comfortable repartee as we are thrust into the ongoing squabbles along with the outsider and learn to appreciate this fading lifestyle as it becomes his home despite his suspicions and other plans.
Jim Norton as a Granddad with an Irish gift of gab is particularly entertaining as he goads his stubborn wirey son, an appealing David Field, to make up with his wife, who has the more successful touch as an oyster farmer.
Women in this macho environment have to not only be tough, but resilient as they find ways to still assert their femininity. Diana Glenn's "Pearl" seems perfectly adapted to the local way of life-- her hitchhiking up the river is a wonderful detail even as she has "Sex and the City" proclivities --though her flirtation with "Jack" is only frankly lusty. Kerry Armstrong is a marvelous matriarch, but her character's level-headedness reduces opportunities for jealousy, as the script opts for humor over tension.
Jack Thompson has a small local color role, but key as he becomes an anchoring father figure for the restless "Jack" as we see him grow new roots.
The national park scenery and Alun Bollinger's cinematography are breathtakingly beautiful and that waterfront train looks like a delightful ride, though a bit more geographical context would have been helpful.
"Oyster Farmer" is a refreshing story that gives an insight into a few of the many characters scattered throughout the country. Though the story line is far from spectacular, it in engrossing with the ordinariness of people trying to eke out a living in a cut throat business. The interplay between the characters enriches the plot as one couple oppose each other, a wanderer carries robs an armoured car to pay off a debt and a group of Vietnam veterans make a life away from a world that has rejected. There are other interesting characters who also intertwine the plot with their affairs and dealings. Really, this film has no pretenses. The scenery is just so typical of a great waterway as are depictions of the life style of its people.
There was a certain degree of anticipation for this movie for me, since
I live in the area where most of the movie is set. And after being part
of the experience - drinking at the pub with some of the stars, and
watching the film crew in action, it certainly didn't disappoint!!
It's not every day that you watch a movie on the big screen set in your own suburb, recognize the faces of locals who have bit parts, and feel a great sense of pride in the beautiful scenery that you have come to know so well... it's a bit surreal....
I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed the movie quite so much if it wasn't set in my home town, but nevertheless, the story was pleasant enough, the characters were likable... some may find it a little slow and tame, and the plot was a little disjointed, with not a great deal of drama or suspense or even character development.
The general consensus of my neighbours who have seen the film is that the true star of the movie was the Hawkesbury River.
Oyster Farmer is a curious Australian movie in that its production
values are more impressive than the story itself. First and foremost,
the music throughout the movie is brilliant in that it suits the movie
perfectly. The cinematography is likewise first class - the aerial
scenes of the Hawkesbury River in particular are stunning. Also, the
editing is tight and keeps the movie from bogging down - the editor and
director deserve commendation for keeping the movie flowing.
The story itself is quirky and sometimes makes quantum leaps in credibility but, hey, what interesting movie doesn't? The acting is believable and allows you to understand the characters in most cases.
As a simple tale of life in a remote river community, the movie works quite well and deserves its reputation as a significant Australian film. Not great, but quite good.
Saw this movie over the weekend in New York at the Quad Cinema.
One if the best movies to come out of Australia, period. I highly recommend seeing this film. Visually stunning, without being overwhelming, or detracting from the storyline. With the gorgeous Hawkesbury River as her backdrop, Reeves weaves characters vividly to life with the pithy little concerns and subtleties that are so crucial in a movie so delicate. The script is tight and beautifully executed. Compared to other feature directorial debuts this is an incredible piece. As a stand alone work, I think this movie will be looked back on as the beginning of an Australian legacy. Bravo. I hope to see much more from this very talented director.
I hope Anna Reevs, the director as well as the writer, takes justified
pride in this amazingly wonderful first effort. Because of its class I
was surprised to see that it was her debut film-how many others would
dream of writing and directing such a superb first effort.
I saw this film several days ago in Fremantle and although I had heard from electronic media outlets that it was a very good film, I had no idea, other than the obvious title what I was going to see. The beauty of the Hawksbury was breathtaking and the juxtaposition of that beauty with the basic everyday existence of the oyster farmers presented a compelling contradiction throughout the film.
Maybe it's the technical strides that have taken place during the recent past but I am swallowed by the beauty of the cinematography; I am sure Bollinger whose camera work captured every nuance of the natural beauty of this region would tell me that it was his and Reeves' direction that captured the setting and that it had nothing to do with improvements in equipment. Be that as it may, the camera images were beautiful.
The actors were on the whole unknown to me but the work they did made a life unknown to me real and more importantly, eminently worth watching. An absolute gem of a movie not to be missed.
Finally, after the Oz film production industry of the past 18 months being all at sea and in the doldrums, comes a trip up the river instead that produces a film akin to a welcome breath of cinematic fresh air. OYSTER FARMER is a visually spectacular and humorously wry drama of intermingling relationships among local eccentrics and family dissent throughout the muddy mangrove oyster lease businesses on the Hawkesbury River on Sydney's northern fringe. It is a great setting for an easily enjoyable tangle of wants yearnings - and some survival - in a closed community gingerly accepting one 24 year old man finding his place in the world. As with many genuinely warm and often quite funny successful Australian films, we are presented with beautiful locations, dry humor, some hilarious sight gags, an undercurrent of mistrust and begrudging affection, and ultimately, common sense to be happy with one's lot. Previously unseen actor Alex O'Lachlan is the handsome main focus (in a Ramon Novarro way) and it is his journey we enjoy, visually and romantically as he meanders through a community of antsy couples and family jousting, hermit men and railway line-riverbank oldies all living in grubby slap-board shanties on stilts. It has a languid pace, a lot like the river itself but all the deep-water undercurrents of this type of drama also are relevant. Produced by master craftsman of Australian cinema Anthony Buckley, his films are often identifiable by their breathtaking location photography and family dramas set around a tough but troubled industry. See 70s box office champions like THE IRISHMAN, or CADDIE, or classic TV epics like POOR MANS ORANGE or HARP IN THE SOUTH or recently, THE POTATO FACTORY. His celebrated 1960s career in editing Michael Powell classics like the recently restored AGE OF CONSENT are a testament to his success in that if you see his name on an Australian film it is of a consistent standard and a uniquely heartfelt theme. New director Anna Reeves who also wrote the OYSTER FARMER script is to be applauded in that her story and inventive direction allows the pace, characters and scene to be completely satisfying experiences for the viewer. OYSTER FARMER is the film that in 2005 has reinvented the independent film industry in Australia and now in its second week of release is proving to be a major success. A character story rather than an action drama, OYSTER FARMER reminds us of Brit pix like LOCAL HERO or quiet bayou dramas of the deep south in the US. Well known acting faces like Kerrie Armstrong (see LANTANA), regular nugget David Field (not unlike England's Robert Carlyle) and veteran Jack Thompson (see BREAKER MORANT or Sunday TOO FAR AWAY) add the acting strength necessary to keep the characters and interaction interesting. Armstrong's on-board first aid to O'Lachlan provides startling personal physical closeups appreciated by the gasping crowd at the session I attended. New big screen actor Diana Glenn is the film's other main focus. She was previously seen briefly in SOMERSAULT and on TV in the angst series SECRET LIFE OF US. The widescreen photography and dreamy locations suit her quite compelling blue eyed beauty as a riverbank muse with an character-bending shoe fetish. The sight gags involving Smokey, her delinquent dog are genuinely hilarious. She is extraordinarily good looking and perfectly cast. The sex scene on a shady jetty with Alex O'Lachlan is a widescreen zinger. Some perplexing editing in the first couple of reels still puzzle me but I have a sneaking suspicion reels 2/3 at Cinema Paris at Fox Studios in Sydney were in the wrong order. Typical of that cinema. Good facility and hopeless presentation.. It is a testament to this well crafted film that even if I did see some of it in the wrong order, it did not mar the overall experience.OYSTER FARMER is a type of quiet humorous Australian drama we make well in this country and is it a relief to see this film lead the way out of the flat box office run of 2004/5. Interestingly it has taken newcomer writer director teaming with a statesman producer to achieve this success. Much like the casting too. Of particular note is Brit old timer Jim Norton whose hilarious turn as Dad almost steals the film. Local critics have welcomed this film and you should too, especially if you are an International audience.
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