Sydney Film Festival 2015 - The Secret River

The Secret River is a prestigious TV two part mini-series from the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) that premiered at the Sydney Film Festival last night. It will be shown on the ABC this coming weekend and will be available to all Australians online and on the TV.  It is an important production for a local industry that has funding cuts, a talent drain to the USA and the UK, and public apathy at the box office for local content. It has a lot riding on it for the local TV industry. 

What a burden. In addition, it is a slowly building story based on the novel by Kate Grenville, which is now taught as part of the school curriculum in Australian schools. It has also previously been dramatised as play that was put on as part of the 2013 Sydney Festival. It is a story of Australian colonisation though the eyes of one family who claim land along the Hawkesbury River, just north of Sydney, and their actions in the face of an Indigenous population resisting this invasion.  Thankfully, the production is beautifully shot and acted and it builds towards a literal and emotional massacre that will stay with the viewer. In a white washed Australia it is an important story to tell. It will start conversations and it will help give a voice to the secrets of the past that still scar the Aboriginal communities today.

Predestination - A Robert Heinlein Short Story brought to Film

This film will become a cult classic for science fiction lovers along the lines of Cube, Dark City, Pi Primer and Jacob's Ladder. This is my prediction. Predestination is one of those rare films in this day and age - a film aimed at adults. I know, I had to take a moment as well. It direct contrast to the summer comic blockbusters, Australian writers/directors, the Spierig Brothers have crafted a stylish time travelling story that delves into concepts such as identity and gender. Predestination is an adaptation of Robert Heinlein's short story, All You Zombies. I have not read the short story or had read or seen anything about Predestination before watching it. All I knew is that it was the latest genre film from the Spierig Brothers, it looked like they were focusing on science fiction this time and it starred Ethan Hawke, who was the lead in their second full length film, Daybreakers (2009). It was a rare gift to go and see a film without the heavy marketing blasting at you giving you sneak peaks (or what I like to call - spoiling the movie before you have seen it). I enjoyed it. It is a good, although it slightly drags in the middle. It is a thought provoking story that rests on the shoulders of the two main actors, Ethan Hawke as the Temperal Agent and Sarah Snook as the Unmarried Mother. Ethan Hawke is good as always, however he is the foil to a fantastic Sarah Snook. It really is a great performance. She shone in the Australian romantic comedy Not Suitable for Children with Ryan Kwanten, and it looks like she is building up an eclectic body of work. Definately someone to watch. 

This is the third full length film from twins, Michael and Peter Spierig from Brisbane, Australia.  The first was a take on the zombie story, Undead in 2003 and the aforementioned Daybreakers which is about vampires. It is great to see something different, not brilliant, but interesting and with flashes of greatness, whether it is a performance, a scene or the costume design. We need more movies that dare to do this and give us a wider scope of story telling to change up the action/CGI heavy comic book/sci fi summer blockbusters of today.