Stage

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei DS SR DS John McCal­lum

(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.

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