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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

YOU’VE had quite enough of The Great Gatsby al­ready? I know it’s hard to avoid the sub­ject, but as an an­ti­dote to Baz Luhrmann’s ex­trav­a­ganza — which is ac­tu­ally well worth see­ing — you might try Para­mount’s ver­sion, di­rected by Jack Clay­ton, who is re­mem­bered for Room at the Top, an­other cau­tion­ary tale about so­cial climbers. The Great Gatsby (Sun­day, 12.30am, ABC1) starred Robert Red­ford, as charis­matic a star in 1974 as Leonardo DiCaprio is to­day. And while Clay­ton’s film can’t com­pete with Luhrmann’s for sheer vis­ual spec­ta­cle, it’s still a plea­sure to watch. Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola’s screen­play sticks faith­fully to F. Scott Fitzger­ald’s novel, and Red­ford gives a more than ad­e­quate per­for­mance as the mys­te­ri­ous Jazz Age boot­leg­ger at the cen­tre of the story. I’ve al­ways pre­ferred the 1940 film with Alan Ladd, which must be due for re­screen­ing soon.

The Tree (Satur­day, 9.30pm, SBS One) is an Aus­tralian-French co-pro­duc­tion di­rected by Julie Ber­tuc­celli and shot in a bare stretch of coun­try­side in Queens­land, and for haunting beauty and strangeness is hard to beat. Dawn (Char­lotte Gains­bourg) lives with her hus­band Peter (Aden Young) in a tum­ble­down farm­house. When Peter crashes his car into a tree af­ter a fa­tal heart at­tack, his daugh­ter Si­mone (Mor­gana Davies) is con­vinced her dead fa­ther’s spirit lives on in the tree. She climbs the tree to be near him, she talks to him at night, and Dawn, some­what re­luc­tantly, goes along with the pre­tence. The tree be­comes the film’s cen­tral char­ac­ter, a sin­is­ter pres­ence as bizarre and in­escapable as that loom­ing pi­ano in Jane Cam­pion’s film. Grad­u­ally the tree’s roots and branches start in­vad­ing Dawn’s house. But all can be ra­tio­nally ex­plained, which makes The Tree at once more un­set­tling and more mov­ing.

It comes as a shock in Anger Man­age­ment (Sun­day, 6.30pm, 7Mate) when the hero, a timid, self-ef­fac­ing loser called Dave (Adam San­dler), is charged with as­sault and ri­otous be­hav­iour on an air­craft and or­dered by the judge to un­dergo a course of anger man­age­ment. Dave’s ther­a­pist turns out to be Jack Ni­chol­son, who is just as hot-headed and danger­ous as any of the odd­ball pa­tients he’s treat­ing. The best scene (you’d bet­ter be­lieve it) has Ni­chol­son and San­dler, their car stuck in traf­fic, giv­ing a hi­lar­i­ous ren­di­tion of I Feel Pretty.

The first fea­ture of writer-di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie, Lock, Stock and Two Smok­ing Bar­rels (Satur­day, 9.50pm, 7Mate) is a larky, ir­rev­er­ent, smart-talk­ing Bri­tish crime thriller in which four nice lads get into bad com­pany and must get them­selves out be­fore things get re­ally ugly. A strong story-line, amus­ing sub­plots, vivid char­ac­ters, strong re­minders of Quentin Tarantino and a cliff-hanger end­ing. Who could ask for more?

(M) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 9.30pm, SBS One (MA15+) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 9.50pm, 7Mate

(M) ★★★✩✩ Sun­day, 12.30am, ABC1

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