Mr flicks

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV -

Noon, Gem

PG. 1983. Burntout coun­try singer Robert Du­vall gets his life back to­gether when he washes up in a small coun­try town, find­ing lodg­ing with widow Tess Harper and her small son. Du­vall’s flaw­less per­for­mance won him a Best Ac­tor Os­car and di­rec­tor Bruce Beres­ford gives us a su­perb por­trait of a bleak, ru­ral Texas land­scape. Slow, al­most som­nam­bu­lant pace but a very re­ward­ing film. Noon, Seven, Prime7

M. 2006. Young girl whose mother has re­cently died, moves with fa­ther Richard Thomas back to his old home town, where she dis­cov­ers an em­pa­thy for wild an­i­mals. Typ­i­cal Hall­mark pro­duc­tion will en­thrall an­i­mal lovers but is some­thing of a lame duck oth­er­wise. Nancy Mckeon. 8.30pm, Movie One

M. 2011. Pro­fes­sional vi­o­lin­ist is emo­tion­ally drained and stressed by her job. She moves into her grand­mother’s house and falls for an at­trac­tive lo­cal who be­comes im­pli­cated in a se­ries of mur­ders. Peter Markle di­rects a cast, which in­cludes Gabrielle An­war and Colin Eg­gles­field, through this by-thenum­bers thriller. 9.30pm, Go!

M. 2004. Af­ter the ad­e­quate though unin­spired com­edy of The Whole Nine Yards why would any­one think it was worth a se­quel? This time round, hit­man Jimmy the Tulip (Bruce Wil­lis) is in wit­ness pro­tec­tion in Mex­ico and Matthew Perry trav­els there to seek his help in res­cu­ing his wife who’s been kid­napped. Def­i­nitely a yard too far. HE new drama Awake has the kind of in­tri­cate, high­con­cept premise that can test view­ers. But that’s noth­ing com­pared with what its pro­duc­ers face.

Howard Gor­don, a mas­ter at jug­gling chal­leng­ing plots ( 24; The X-files), puts it flatly: ‘‘I learned noth­ing, and noth­ing pre­pared for me this.’’

‘‘This is a ve­hi­cle that no one has driven be­fore and has no op­er­at­ing in­struc­tions,’’ says Gor­don, who pro­duces Awake with its cre­ator, Kyle Killen.

The se­ries stars Ja­son Isaacs as po­lice de­tec­tive Michael Brit­ten, a man liv­ing in two worlds. A car ac­ci­dent has claimed a fam­ily mem­ber’s life: his wife, Han­nah (Laura Allen), in one, and his teenage son, Rex (Dy­lan Min­nette), in an­other.

The du­al­ity ex­tends to Brit­ten’s work, where he in­ves­ti­gates cases with two part­ners (played by Steve Har­ris and Wilmer Valder­rama) – and dis­cov­ers strad­dling dif­fer­ent re­al­i­ties gives him crime-bust­ing in­sights.

While other TV shows with par­al­lel uni­verses and out­comes have dab­bled in ex­treme ex­pla­na­tions – quick, ex­plain Lost again – Gor­don and Killen in­sist this is a (rel­a­tively) sim­ple case of a guy liv­ing one life and dream­ing an­other.

Brit­ten and the au­di­ence are just not sure which is which. Nei­ther are the ther­a­pists who are treat­ing him, with both as­sur­ing him that his other life is the dream. He’s un­will­ing to give up the bal­anc­ing act that al­lows him to keep hold of wife and son.

‘‘At the cen­tre of it is the ques­tion we all live with as peo­ple, which is how do we face loss and how do we live in the face of loss,’’ Gor­don says.

The de­tec­tive wears coloured wrist­bands to keep his lives straight. Isaacs in­sists view­ers have it eas­ier.

When the pi­lot was de­vel­oped, there was con­cern that the idea was so tricky, his char­ac­ter might need to be bearded in one world and beard­less in the other to help view­ers dis­tin­guish be­tween them.

‘‘But my daugh­ter, who’s 5, told me the story in three sen­tences,’’ Isaacs re­called. ‘‘So I told the pro­duc­ers, ‘We don’t need to worry’. It’s such a pow­er­ful and imag­i­na­tive premise.’’

Wilmer Valder­rama and Ja­son Isaacs.

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