(M) This film, directed by Edward Zwick, comes four years after Jack Reacher. It’s based on the 18th novel in the popular series by American author Lee Child. Overall this is a slick actionadventure that has relevant reverberations from the American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, and touches on the complex nature of the war on terror.
The Light Between Oceans (M) A fine adaptation of West Australian author ML Stedman’s first novel, this visually handsome romantic melodrama is set in West Australia in the period after World War I, with Michael Fassbender excellent as damaged veteran Tom Sherbourne, Alicia Vikander as the local woman he marries and Rachel Weisz as a woman with whom they become involved. The strong supporting cast includes Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, Garry McDonald and Jane Menelaus. Adam Arkapaw’s photography is superb.
Boys in the Trees (M) This is an intriguing partfantasy, part-thriller coming-ofage drama written and directed by Nicholas Verso, in his feature film debut. It’s set in 1997, on Halloween, and the Australian location is not obvious. The main characters are lateteenagers, in this case ones on the cusp of leaving school. There are surreal moments and experiences that may or may not have something to do with Halloween: memories of children who died, the appearance of a ghostlike man, a haunting tunnel and a strange party at a house.
Elle (MA15+) Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s first feature in 10 years is the French entry in this year’s foreign film Oscar race, and deservedly so. It’s a superb portrait of a middle-aged woman, brilliantly played by Isabelle Huppert, who, in the shattering opening sequence, is raped in her home by a masked man.
The Turquoise Elephant This absurdist farce by Stephen Carleton suggests that somehow we will insist on dancing as the world collapses around us. It is the near future. The temperature outside is 48C and Melbourne has already been drowned. Inside a fortress-retreat two mega-rich old ladies keep up the struggle. The tone of this astonishing production is extravagant and outrageous. Director Gale Edwards turns the excess of it all into something frightening and disturbingly exhilarating. Designers Brian Thomson (set) and Emma Vine (costumes) have created a space and a look that is beautiful and decadent at the same time. There is a brilliant lighting and audiovisual design by Verity Hampson. There are great performances by Maggie Dence and Belinda Giblin as the two grand dames. iOTA plays, on screen, the increasingly deranged terrorist spokesman. Catherine Davies (pictured) and Olivia Rose are good as the two young women caught up in all this comic nightmare, especially Rose as the disturbed person who is the nearest thing this wicked show has to an innocent. There is an attempt to balance a great deal of polemic with a great deal of entertainment and the balance is maintained. Griffin Theatre Company, SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross. Today, 2pm and 7pm. Tickets: $35-$55. Bookings: (02) 9361 3817 or online. Duration: 1hr 30min, no interval. Until November 26.