The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -


( M)


Mad­man ( 90 min­utes) $ 29.95 IT’s with a fond glow that many of us re­mem­ber early adult­hood trips away. Hik­ing un­til your feet ached, camp­ing amid the scents of the bush, camp­fires and, fol­low­ing the ever-shift­ing dy­nam­ics of the ado­les­cent re­la­tion­ship sys­tem, awk­ward fum­blings in can­vas tents, oth­er­wise known as hav­ing a crack’’. A great set­ting for a film, to be sure. Yet this first ef­fort from di­rec­tor Mark Forstmann stum­bles badly, to the point where most of us will re­call a far more in­ter­est­ing time in our youth than is man­aged by the bores de­picted here. The plot is sim­ple: five young peo­ple set off to find the an­cient Wollemi pine in the Blue Moun­tains, west of Syd­ney. Then they get lost. The per­for­mances, led by Ryan John­son as Dy­lan, are ter­rific and en­gag­ing. The prob­lem is the writ­ing. Much is hinted at, al­most noth­ing re­vealed. Dy­lan and scatty ro­man­tic Pippa ( Ella Scott Lynch) are giggly and lovey-dovey at first, fall­ing be­hind the oth­ers to snog. But when Pippa ini­ti­ates more of this, Dy­lan in­ex­pli­ca­bly turns his head away, re­fus­ing her ad­vances. Is her breath just ter­ri­ble? I’m f--ked up,’’ he barks. Fine, but we need to know why. Die-hard veg­e­tar­ian Toni ( Bil­lie Rose Pritchard), mean­while, ap­pears to be in love with Pippa, but again this is de­liv­ered in groom­ing hints and long­ing glances. Things get a bit grim, and there are many over­long ab­seil­ing se­quences. And be warned: this film de­liv­ers the most frus­trat­ing lack of clo­sure since Tim Win­ton’s The Rid­ers .

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