Free to air
MASOCHISTIC viewers are in for a treat this week, with no shortage of sadistic torture scenes, satanic visitations, mass killings and things that go bump in the night. They happen to be the best films on offer — two Roman Polanski thrillers, Rosemary’s Baby (Sunday, 12.35am, ABC1), which we all know about, and his underrated horror film The Tenant (Sunday, 2.50am, ABC1), set in a haunted apartment in Manhattan. Then there’s Snowtown (Saturday, 9.30pm, SBS One), Justin Kurzel’s horrifying (and brilliant) account of the crimes of John Bunting and his gang, who tortured and killed as many as 12 people in South Australia and disposed of their bodies in barrels of acid.
More horrors, I’m in Noise (Sunday, 11.45pm, SBS One), rated by this column the best Australian film of 2007. It opens with an unnerving sequence on a suburban train at night. A young woman (Maia Thomas) takes a seat in what looks to be a largely empty carriage. Then she notices the woman in front of her slump to one side, discovers she is dead and finds other mutilated bodies littering the carriage floor. We follow a Melbourne cop (Brendan Cowell) as he investigates the murders. But the film’s notable feature is its soundtrack. The cop suffers from tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears, and writer-director Matthew Saville uses an ingenious sound mix to convey both the disorienting effect of the condition and the heightened impact of familiar sounds as they affect his state of mind. It is a device that might have quickly worn us down but Saville uses it to suggest a world in which familiar sounds can possess an unfamiliar and disconcerting resonance.
Fred Schepisi’s first film was his unforgettable version of Tom Keneally’s novel The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, and his most recent a graceful adaptation of Patrick White’s The Eye of the Storm, with so many good things in between. In 1987 he made Roxanne (Sunday, 4pm, 7Two), an updated take on Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac, with Steve Martin as a small-town fire chief whose outsized nose is a fatal impediment to his wooing of Roxanne (Daryl Hannah). It’s touching, funny and beautifully done. And in an era when romance seems to have taken second place to sex in Hollywood movies, what a pleasure to see a film in which love is the name of the game.
The Hangover (Tuesday, 9.30pm, Nine) was a hit in 2009 — a hyperactive farce about a group of boozy buddies who wake up in a drunken stupor after a wild bachelor party and are unable to remember anything that happened the night before. Beyond that, I can’t remember much myself, except that Bradley Cooper has a role. An inferior sequel followed in 2011 and, by coincidence, The Hangover Part III is now in cinemas. I suppose I’ll have to see it.
(MA15+) ★★★★✩ Sunday, 11.45pm, SBS One
(MA15+) ★★★★✩ Saturday, 9.30pm, SBS One
(M) ★★★ ✩ Sunday, 4pm, 7Two