Cockburn Gazette - - WHAT’S ON -

WITH Lion, direc­tor Garth Davis told the heart-wrench­ing true story of a child separated from his fam­ily who sur­vives the streets of Kolkata to ad­just to life with adop­tive Tas­ma­nian par­ents.

It is the kind of film peo­ple with the cold­est soul would re­quire a box of tis­sues to sit through.

Davis’ lat­est film, Mary Mag­da­lene, is about the jour­ney of one of Je­sus’ fol­low­ers who de­fied the do­mes­tic life mapped out for her by so­ci­ety.

Yet there is some­thing im­por­tant miss­ing this time: emo­tion and con­nec­tion.

Mary (Rooney Mara) spends her days work­ing the land, ner­vously wait­ing for the day her fam­ily sets her up with a hus­band to start her life Garth Davis Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chi­we­tel Ejio­for from March 22 Ju­lian Wright

of do­mes­tic­ity – some­thing her sis­ters have al­ready be­gun.

When Je­sus (Joaquin Phoenix) ar­rives in town on foot, she sees hope for a dif­fer­ent life for her­self and turns her back on her fam­ily to ac­com­pany him on his trek to Jerusalem, but not be­fore her fam­ily try to ex­or­cise per­ceived de­mons from her body.

Davis’ de­lib­er­ately quiet and re­strained take on Mary’s story aims for po­etic im­agery and mo­ments of re­flec­tion. There are plenty of di­a­logue­less shots to al­low the im­ages to tell the story.

How­ever, this is such a slow-mov­ing film that de­vel­ops its dra­matic arcs with such a blase ap­proach there is lit­tle weight to it.

It merely hints at the fem­i­nist as­pect; Mary makes the so­ci­ety-de­fy­ing de­ci­sion to ditch her fam­ily but with­out so much as a shoul­der shrug.

Be­ing that the script was writ­ten by two women, He­len Ed­mund­son and Philippa Goslett, it is sur­pris­ing the fe­male per­spec­tive is so muted.

This also ends up be­ing as much about Je­sus as it is about Mary.

Rooney Mara starts in Mary Mag­da­lene.

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