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The Eye of the Storm (2011)

Not Rated | | Drama | 7 September 2012 (USA)
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Elizabeth Hunter controls all in her life - society, her staff, her children; but the once great beauty will now determine her most defiant act as she chooses her time to die.

Director:

Fred Schepisi

Writers:

Judy Morris (screenplay), Patrick White (novel)
8 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Rampling ... Elizabeth Hunter
Maria Theodorakis Maria Theodorakis ... Mary DeSantis
Geoffrey Rush ... Basil Hunter
Jamie Timony ... Onslow Porter
Judy Davis ... Dorothy de Lascabanes
Bob Marcs Bob Marcs ... Queens Club Porter
Alexandra Schepisi ... Flora Manhood
John Gaden John Gaden ... Arnold Wyburd
Helen Morse ... Lotte
Robyn Nevin ... Lal
Jane Menelaus Jane Menelaus ... Maggie
Bille Brown Bille Brown ... Dudley
Heather Mitchell Heather Mitchell ... June
Simon Stone ... Peter
Nikki Shiels Nikki Shiels ... Janie
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Storyline

In the dead geographic center of American, a college student from California (Katherine Kendall - SWINGERS) must take refuge from a sudden storm in the Miller's farmhouse basement. The Millers-Irma (Blythe Danner - MEET THE PARENTS), her husband Dallas and their brooding 30 year-old son Billy, have secrets as turbulent as the storm that rages outside. They are trying to come to terms with the mysterious disappearance of their only daughter and Irma's delusions about the tragedy are further complicated by the arrival of the suspicious California coed

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

7 September 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Derült égbolt viharfelhők között See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD 15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,785, 9 September 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,297, 4 November 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Boasts Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and Oscar nominees Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Basil Hunter: [voice-over] If it were writ upon a page, it could revolve around this day, the day my mother came to believe that being of a certain class entitles you die whenever you damn well please. Don't we wish...
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User Reviews

A solid adaptation of Oz classic
28 July 2011 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

Patrick White put Australia on the literary map by winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973, but his rich dense style did not make for a best-selling author. This film, an adaptation of White's novel, marks the first time anyone has succeeded in filming a White novel, though he wrote the screenplay for a curious piece directed by Jim Sharman, "The Night the Prowler" in 1977. Director Fred Schepisi said at the preview I attended that it was a challenge to film the allegedly unfilmable; if it had been easy it would have not been worth doing. Yet despite the style White was rather a theatrical author, and Judy Morris's screenplay accurately reflects White's mordant wit. His characters are acting their way through life and there is drama in almost every scene.

Old Mrs Elizabeth Hunter, widow of a wealthy grazier, is nearing the end of her days in some splendour in her Centennial Park, Sydney, mansion, and her two children have been summoned to her bedside. Her son Basil, once a leading actor on the London stage whose career is now in decline and her daughter Dorothy, the ex-wife of a minor French aristocrat, are motivated more by their possible inheritance than affection for the old lady. In fact Elizabeth inspires more affection in her nurses, solicitor and housekeeper than she does in her children. Dorothy in particular has cause to hate her mother, yet it is she who gets closer to her as the film progresses.

Schepisi manages to blend in the dark humour of the situation with the downbeat storyline. The cinemaphotograhy is gorgeous and the cutting, often without the usual establishment shots, wonderfully done, given the extensive use made of flashbacks – you instantly realise where the characters are. The book's interior monologues often appear as a single image in a single screen. The casting is such as Geoffrey Rush mentioned at the preview that he could not refuse – the very best of the Australian acting profession, though the pivotal role of Elizabeth Hunter is played with great panache by Charlotte Rampling. Rush plays Basil as a man who takes himself seriously, but can't persuade anyone else to. Judy Davis simmers as the disillusioned Dorothy , and John Gaden as Wyburd the family solicitor with a skeleton or to in his own cupboard is pitch perfect. Flora the day nurse, played by Schepsi's daughter Alexandra, is vividly realised, and there are good performances in minor roles also, including Helen Morse, unrecognisable, as Lotte the tragic housekeeper, and Colin Friels as a Labor politician on the make rather reminiscent of one Robert James Lee Hawke. The only odd casting decision is casting Melbourne locations as Sydney. Mrs Hunter's mansion is definitely not in Sydney and only a couple of brief scenes are shot in Centennial Park.

It has been opined that "The Eye of the Storm" is Patrick White in drag, and it is true that there are some obvious personal aspects to the story - there is a lot of White's mother in Mrs Hunter. Set as it is in the early 1970s in the declining old money grazier milieu, this film could be written off as a period piece. Yet Schepisi has managed to capture both the theme and atmosphere of the novel. The difficulties of dying have rarely been so well depicted on film. This may not be a box office smash, but it will appeal to anyone who likes a solid piece of film-making.


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