WAVE TO THE PAST

Drift Star Trek into Dark­ness Camille Rewinds (Camille re­dou­ble)

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film - David Strat­ton

(M) ★★★★✩ National re­lease OR non-surfers, the high point of the surf­ing movie comes when the cam­era takes us in­side one of those enor­mous waves that dwarf the frag­ile hu­man who some­how man­ages to stay up­right on a surf­board.

Sev­eral pop­u­lar doc­u­men­tary films have cap­tured this mag­i­cal mo­ment, as did John Mil­ius’s Big Wed­nes­day (1978). The new Aus­tralian film Drift, which is set in Western Aus­tralia’s Mar­garet River re­gion in the 1970s, also con­veys, with awe­some vivid­ness, just what it is that makes surfers seek out that very spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘ In­spired by ac­tual events’’, ac­cord­ing to an open­ing ti­tle, Drift starts in Syd­ney in 1960 (in black and white) when Kat Kelly (Robyn Mal­colm), an abused wife, leaves her drunken

(tbc) ★★★ National re­lease from Thurs­day

✩ ★★★✩✩ Limited re­lease

F(M) hus­band and drives west with her two small sons, plan­ning to look for work in Al­bany be­cause, pre­sum­ably, that’s about as far away as she can get with­out leav­ing the coun­try. Twelve years later Kat is strug­gling to pay the bills, older son Andy (Myles Pol­lard) is work­ing in a dead-end job in a tim­ber mill and Jimmy (Xavier Sa­muel) has be­come a slacker who is con­tent to en­joy the surf cul­ture.

The film, scripted by Mor­gan O’Neill who co-di­rected with Ben Nott, then de­scribes how the broth­ers be­came in­volved in the man­u­fac­ture of surf­boards and surf­ing gear, thus en­sur­ing that the Mar­garet River area would be­come one of the world’s cen­tres for the surf cul­ture.

In cre­at­ing Kelly Broth­ers Surf Gear, they’re en­cour­aged by the ar­rival of JB (Sam Wor­thing­ton), an itin­er­ant pho­tog­ra­pher who ar­rives in his brightly painted cam­per van ac­com­pa­nied by sul­try Lani (Les­ley-Ann Brandt). Un­likely as it may seem for an at­trac­tive cou­ple trav­el­ling to­gether in such con­fined con­di­tions, Lani in­sists she’s not JB’s lover, and in­deed he doesn’t seem both­ered when she and Andy be­come a cou­ple.

The film­mak­ers are so rapt in ex­plor­ing the 70s surf­ing cul­ture that they al­low the film to pro­ceed in a very leisurely fash­ion but, strangely enough, al­though the film is light on plot and cliches are only nar­rowly avoided, it’s so evoca­tive of a time and a place, and so well acted over­all, that the lan­guid pac­ing seems hardly to mat­ter.

The Kelly broth­ers face the usual prob­lems. The lo­cal (car­i­ca­tured) bank man­ager won’t lend them money to set up their busi­ness be­cause he ob­vi­ously de­spises the surf­ing cul­ture. The lo­cal po­lice think the Kellys are re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing drugs into the area, and a bikie gang, led by Miller (Steve Bas­toni), is a con­stant threat.

Added to th­ese

out­side

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