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A writer, Ned Kendall, is asked to return to the family home by his sister Sally, to say goodbye to his father who is dying. The family home is in a very remote and isolated area. While back home, Ned starts having memories of his beautiful twin sister and himself when they were children. These memories awaken long-buried secrets from the family's past. Written by
This is the first feature film of a Newton Thornburg novel to be made since Cutter's Way (1981), which was around the time when the "Beautiful Kate" novel was first published. See more »
You want a cuppa?
Do you like being everyone's slave?... I'm sorry... You just do everything for everyone.
No, you're right. Tea's there. You can make it yourself.
I'm not saying you shouldn't... Don't you get sick of it, though?
Sick of what?
Well, fuck, if it was me, I'd leave the bastards to get on with it.
Probably bloody kill each other.
[Imitating Scarlett O'Hara]
Well, Frankly, my dear, I'd risk it... Hmm.
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A writer returns to his family home at the behest of his sister, to bid farewell to his dying father. Coming back to this remote and isolated place, he starts getting flashbacks of his childhood; and more specifically, memories of his beautiful twin sister. Soon, the memories awaken long-buried secrets from the family's past.
Australian cinema isn't something I've explored very much, but the country has produced a lot of great actors, some of which are on show in this very emotional, intensely-charged drama. Just by reading the synopsis above, you can see that this isn't a light, fluffy movie; it's far from it. We're talking about repressed emotions, shouting matches, slow-burning tension, the works. All that could be done to heighten the drama, director Rachel Ward did it.
Ward is an actor herself, which probably goes some way to explaining why she gets such good performances out of her cast. In particular, Mendelsohn (as Ned) is brilliant there are many shades of grey to the character, and he expresses it all very well. You've also got Rachel Griffiths in there (of Six Feet Under fame) and she's predictably awesome.
The big problem with this film, though, is that it just drags too much sometimes. Yes, it's all being done to highlight the monotony and isolation of the place (and their emotions), but it gets a bit much sometimes. The central story is very intense, and I wanted them to get through it. Suddenly, everything slows down and I'm left wanting.
However, there's enough here to satisfy an audience member and, if you're able to put up with the slow pace, you'll appreciate the payoff. It's a well-acted, solidly-directed movie. Worth a look, I think.
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