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Being a member of Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust in New Zealand and
having visited Healsville Raptor Sanctuary in Melbourne Australia, I
was always going to be a avid fan of the movie. What I was not
expecting was the great story that went with the amazing photography
and incredible acting. It's been a long time since a story based on
real events has been brought to the big screen with such sensitivity.
The Birds and the incredible photography were a credit to their
handlers and trainers and the photographers. A must see movie for
anyone with a love of birds of prey and for anybody who enjoys a movie
without all the fancy stuff that still leaves you feeling great when
you leave the theater
Well done to all concerned.
Three friends and I went to see Healing yesterday and we all walked out feeling that this was one of the very best movies we've seen in a long time and we're wondering WHY isn't this movie being shouted about from the rooftops??? Until stumbling upon it whilst looking for info on another movie, I hadn't heard a thing about it. The cinematography is beautiful, the writing wonderful and all the actors fabulous - Don Hany is outstanding and I think overseas may beckon him after this.Jane Menelaus is so comfortable and convincing with the birds that I can't believe she doesn't do this for a living. I honestly can't find a fault with this movie. It takes the time to build the characters and it's so refreshing not to be bashed over the head with 'over the top evil villains'. The cinematography stunningly caught the absolute essence of the Aussie outback and the birds. I can't wait to go and see it again and introduce some other friends to this wonderful movie.
This movie's poor performance at the box office, despite publicity, reveals more about the overall quality of Australian cinema audiences than it does about the country's film industry. Fine acting and cinematography back up a screenplay and score of rare quality, marrying human and environmental rehabilitation so effectively that the overall effect is extremely moving without mawkish corn. Paradoxically, this movie might do better in the US than here if properly promoted, considering Australian audiences' apparent liking for American sentimental crap. Hugo Weaving and Don Hany deliver in spades, Hany especially surpassing any previous outings of his... all quite competent if not memorable. The supporting cast doesn't let them down.
Don't miss this sublime experience!
For a lover of good cinema, great story & acting, awe-inspiring and perfectly chosen music, in addition to the uniquely beautiful Australian bush, ecological elements of humans interconnectedness with nature and the ability to heal from extreme adversity.
Each frame of this movie, each eagle-eye aerial view, each close-up has been so beautifully crafted it had me in tears.
Please treat yourself and family, as well as all your friends.
This wonderful cinematic experience can only leave you feeling fundamentally changed and the World a better place.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We keep hearing that the Australian film industry is in the
doldrums.... Well, "Healing" will restore your faith in its health.
Excellent cinematography, good music, a good script and some really fine performances, particularly from the three male leads, Hugo Weaving, Don Hany and Xavier Samuel. But every performance in this film is good, and Jane Menelaus is so convincing as the Sanctuary's Raptor Expert that one could believe that is her day job. And Yasmine the wedge-tailed eagle, plus some very cute owls, nearly steal the show. Another star of the show is atmospheric shots of the beautiful scenery.
The movie takes a leisurely pace, but this is absolutely fitting to parallel the slow rate of healing for all of these damaged animal and human characters. It also reflects the slow routine of the prisoners' lives.
Some critics have called this film too predictable in its outcome, but if things come out well for the characters we care about, what's wrong with that? It's nice to have that happen occasionally!
Definitely the highlight Australian film of the year for me!
Right from the very first scene I knew this was going to be a special
type of prison film. Mother nature in all her glory, a bird of prey
elegantly gliding through the air in pursuit of its target, then bam!
Trapped in a fence, cut to a prison van, a prisoner menacingly staring
down a frightened young man, himself trapped, but a wise old bird of
years and years of incarceration experience sidles up alongside the
youngster, about to take him under his protective wing. The healing of
the title begins, for man, boy and creatures, a metaphor heavy
narrative that thankfully is beautifully written and portrayed.
Directed by Craig Monahan, who also co-writes the screenplay with Alison Nisselle, this Australian film stars Hugo Weaving, Don Hany, Xavier Samuel and Mark Leonard Winter. Music is by David Hirschfelder and cinematography by Andrew Lesnie. Story follows a small group of prisoners working in a penal system approved rehabilitation of injured birds of prey programme. But outside of this harmonious circle lay differing problems, bully boy cons trying to muscle in with their poison, and then there is serrated family ties outside the prison gates that seem impossible to be healed...
Throughout the pic there are broken beings, inmates, creatures and wardens, all in need of redemption or a restart in life. There's a lot going in the story as such, but it all makes for a gratifying whole because the makers have taken their time to build the characters. Tech credits are excellent, with the performances of the lead actors leading from the front. Weaving giving high end professionalism as the emotionally troubled main guard is something of a given, while Samuel (The Loved Ones) looks like he is about to build himself a worthwhile career.
The film, however, in human form belongs to Hany, who gets the plum role of Iranian Viktor Khadem, the old lag who is the centre of the story. His accent sometimes sounds more South African than Iranian, but his ability to say so much with pained visual ticks and a becalmed delivery of crucial dialogue really cements the heart of the story's worth.
Elsewhere, Lesnie's wide angled photography does justice to the surroundings when the story goes outside of the prison walls into the outback, and of course the grace of the birds is given appropriate splendour. Which leads to bird trainer Andrew Payne, who along with editor Suresh Ayya, deserves a mighty pat on the back for ensuring that Healing is beating a true heart from all standpoints.
This is a lovely film waiting to be discovered by grown ups who are able to get involved with the thematic beats of the story and accept its deliberate pacing in the process. 8/10
I was amazed how good this movie was. I have now seen it twice and I
still could keep watching it.
This movie has a very good story line and a amazing ray of beautiful birds and the message it gave me is "even the broken and hurt can be mended"
The guy that plays Victor in this movie does a really good job, the role really suits him very much.
Just would also like to say that Yasmine the Eagle in this movie really makes me think about how us humans are threatening there habitat and that really soon they will have nowhere to go at all.
This movie will touch your heart and really makes you think.
Why in the world do Australian audiences fail to turn out for first
rate drama and settle for comic book remakes or simplistic American
This movie is simply stunning and should have had a much larger audience here in its home country. The scenery certainly sums up the sparse beauty of Victoria. And Hany and Weaving both give wonderfully rich and subtle performances.
The subject matter is fascinating. This is NOT some grubby prison movie -- it's a story of an innovative rehabilitation methodology. Well done!!!
An amiable, well filmed, yet unfulfilled Australian movie, Craig
Monahan's Healing is an easy to like but strangely cold drama that
continues on the modern day trend of local movies failing to reach
their potential, and in this case failing to do so despite a very
rounded and experienced cast.
Healing should've provided meaty roles to some of Australia's most experienced talent (Hugo Weaving), underrated talent (Don Hany from TV's East West 101), up and coming talent (Xavier Samuel) and renowned supporting talent (Anthony Hayes) yet Monahan as writer/director doesn't illicit enough emotional heft to make audience members care and in turn be affected by the plight of these men. Weaving by far comes off best as kind and caring prison officer Matt Perry while Hany can't quite grasp the accent or the pent up rage of lead Viktor Khadem while Samuel and Hayes are wasted on stereotypical prison inmates in the form of young inmate Paul and prison kingpin Warren respectively. Monahan can also be blamed for failing to capitalise on his metaphorical story of inwardly healing with the films central story conceit.
Around the story of these troubled men is the fact inmates lead by Khadem have been charged with the provision of a bird sanctuary in which birds of prey are nursed back to health and subsequently released back into the wild no guesses in what the birds represent. This story plight feels sadly underutilised and much like many plot developments within the film, wholly unneeded. Moments within the film showcasing Mark Leonard Winter's (who perhaps steals the movie in an acting sense) Shane attending his brother's funeral or Weaving's Matt dealing with the death of his young daughter all feel like side parts that play no real meaningful stepping stone in an unfocused story.
Monahan has made one of Australia's greatest ever dramas in the form of his 1998 Hugo Weaving starring The Interview and in the time following has only made the disappointing Peaches and now this equally mediocre Healing, which is a shame considering his obvious talent. Healing is a hard film to hate thanks to its commendable intentions yet a hard film to love thanks to its mismanaged final product. Better than most Australian films of recent times, yet sadly that's not much of an achievement. Disappointingly forgettable, Healing never soars to the heights it so easily could've reached with the talent on hand.
2 Eagle helmets out of 5
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