FREE- TO- AIR FILMS

EVAN WIL­LIAMS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

IHAD been won­der­ing what had hap­pened to P. J. Ho­gan, the boy from Bris­bane who gave us Muriel’s Wed­ding , My Best Friend’s Wed­ding and other good things. Then I no­ticed that Ten is show­ing his Peter Pan at 3pm on Sun­day. It’s a lovely, gen­er­ally faith­ful ac­count of J. M. Bar­rie’s play, no­table for the fact that Peter is played by a real boy ( Jeremy Sumpter). There are enough mildly erotic im­pli­ca­tions to give things a mod­ern flavour, how­ever, at vari­ance with Bar­rie’s pre- sex­ual vi­sion of child­hood, and the spe­cial ef­fects are state of the art ( or at least they were in 2003). It was also a bold idea to have the fear­some Cap­tain Hook played by the same ac­tor ( Ja­son Isaacs) as Wendy’s kindly old dad. Un­for­tu­nately for Ho­gan, his film was over­shad­owed by Find­ing Nev­er­land , in which Bar­rie was played by Johnny Depp. Any­one want­ing to see Depp on the small screen will have to settle for Blow ( Sun­day, 11pm, Nine), the story of a Bos­ton work­ing­class boy in the 1960s who be­comes the big­gest co­caine dealer in the US, some­thing Bar­rie would not have ap­proved of. Per­haps it’s time for a Ho­gan ret­ro­spec­tive; cer­tainly a Heath Ledger ret­ro­spec­tive, now I think about it. What are the net­works do­ing? We keep get­ting old movies with Ni­cole Kid­man and the blessed Cate. In The In­ter­preter ( Sun­day, 9pm, Ten), Kid­man plays a trans­la­tor at the UN who over­hears a plot to as­sas­si­nate a visit­ing African dig­ni­tary. She knows the con­spir­a­tors know that she’s on to them. Syd­ney Pol­lack’s film is full of dark con­tem­po­rary ref­er­ences to global ter­ror­ism, geno­cide, eth­nic cleans­ing, po­lit­i­cal op­pres­sion: all the evils of the mod­ern in­ter­na­tional or­der. And Kid­man — in­tense, with­drawn, edgy and primly be­spec­ta­cled — is as good as I’ve seen her. She has ex­cel­lent sup­port from Sean Penn as a se­cret ser­vice agent. But there’s a price to be paid for the film’s depth and com­plex­ity. It never re­ally works as a thriller, which is why I pre­fer Char­lotte Gray ( Sun­day, 11.40pm, Ten), di­rected by Gil­lian Arm­strong. Blanchett plays a Scot­tish girl ( book­ish, ed­u­cated, flu­ent in French) parachuted into France in World War II to work with the Re­sis­tance. Yes, she looks a lit­tle too glam­orous and con­spic­u­ously beau­ti­ful wan­der­ing around a French vil­lage in her cute red beret, and you won­der why the po­lice in Vichy France don’t im­me­di­ately haul her in for in­ter­ro­ga­tion. Se­bas­tian Faulks’s

novel was as much a love story as a thriller, and Arm­strong’s film is tense and mov­ing. I think I was the only per­son who liked it at the time. If you want an older film with sim­i­lar themes, the ABC has Joan of Paris ( Mon­day, 1.15am, ABC), made in 1942, with Michele Morgan as the Re­sis­tance hero sav­ing the lives of Al­lied pi­lots. But the one I’d go for is The Nar­row Mar­gin ( Wed­nes­day, 1.40am, ABC). Made in 1952, it is among the great Hol­ly­wood B movies, and set al­most en­tirely on board a train trav­el­ling from Chicago to Los An­ge­les. Charles McGraw is the cop es­cort­ing a rack­e­teer’s widow to a West Coast court where she can tes­tify be­fore a grand jury.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.