Aussie landmark finds mixed success
Is impressive but too long, writes
Tim Winton’s The Turning. HERE’S no denying the film adaptation of Tim Winton’s book The Turning is ambitious. Boasting an Australian cast that includes Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving, the collection of short stories is brought to life in 17 short films, each tackled by a different director, writer and actors.
Like the book, the shorts don’t run chronologically and together, The Turning in at a staggering three hours long.
The result is a film that’s often beautiful, occasionally challenging, but most of all, impressive.
Producer and director Robert Connolly should be applauded for his determination to bring the book to life in such a unique way.
Seeing The Turning is meant to be an event. There’s an intermission, a colour-printed program (and potentially live appearances by the cast or filmmakers.) Individually, the segments might seems haphazard but watching them as a whole makes fascinating.
Yes, The Turning is very, very long and the mental marathon required is challenging in parts. With different actors play recurring characters, making sense of the shorts might be difficult at
clocks times for those who haven’t read the book.
The standout segments are those which bring a lightness of touch – Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh’s infectious onscreen mirth in Reunion and Mia Wasikowska’s directorial debut, Long, Clear View.
Among the other notable directing debuts are the visually stunning films Sand, by Bangarra Dance Theatre artistic director Stephen Page, and Immunity, from Yaron Lifschitz, artistic director and CEO of Circa Contemporary Circus.
While the segments all showcase quality filmmaking and performances, some are less memorable, others too similar in tone.
A standout turn by Rose Byrne, sporting a black eye and a bogan accent as an abused wife in title short The Turning, is both shocking and a reminder of how bloody good she is in dramatic roles.
While audiences who haven’t read the book will question whether some sections could have been cut to streamline the story, this flawed but inspiring film is a great addition to Australian filmmaking.
Tim Winton’s The Turning opens today.
Rose Byrne as abused wife Rae in the title short in the big-screen adaptation