Movie Review : The Turning

A collection of short films based on stories by Australian writer Tim Winton.

 

1

This Australian production is being marketed as a cinematic event and it is exactly that. An event. With a run time of 180 minutes and even an intermission break, to label it simply as a movie would be to do it a great disservice and would also be entirely inaccurate. Based on the Tim Winton short story collection of the same name, it stars some of our countries finest actors and some bright young things to keep your eyes on. Behind the scenes, the lists of names is just as impressive with some well-known actors making their directorial debut.

With your ticket, you receive a glossy 40-ish page book as a companion for the movie. At this point you know you are in for something special. Even the book itself is sumptuous and gorgeously photographed. I had a quick scan before the movie and now wished I had taken a few extra minutes to have a closer look. Or maybe not. No, it was better to just watch the movie and re-trace it all later. Yep. I suppose I should explain …..

The Turning consists of 17 short stories, some tying into others, some just nostalgic reminiscences of the author. There is a central character but as he is played by 8 different actors throughout the movie, it was sometimes difficult to know. It was for me anyway as I am not familiar with this particular Winton collection.

So I simply watched and enjoyed the movie for what it was without trying to delve too deeply into it all at the time. That comes after on the way home and while reading the glossy book and thinking ‘ aaahhhhhhh okay I get it now…..very clever’

 

3

This movie is cinematically stunning. Australia is such a beautiful country and it is captured in all its glory here. But the one thing that I always feel in any Winton production is this mystical quality. This almost ethereal feeling. It was in every moment of Cloudstreet and is in every moment of The Turning. No matter how desolate, the land breathes and lives. But I feel that about Australia anyway…..

Some of the stories are phenomenal, some don’t translate well to the screen at all. Perhaps the most powerful is the actual story The Turning. Starring Rose Byrne, this is the tale of an abused woman living with her husband and 2 little girls in a caravan park. Even while covering the fading bruise under her eye from her last beating, she manages to be optimistic and funny. Byrne’s hard-core Aussie ocker speak coupled with a gentle wide-eyed wonder is completely beguiling and yet very uncomfortable to watch. Devastating and amazing.

 

2

When I walked out of the cinema and blinked into the sunlight, I was so completely overwhelmed that when asked what I thought of it all, I answered that I was unsure and would have to absorb and think about it first.  (For the record, the lady who posed the question had read everything Tim  Winton ever wrote and seem pleased by my answer). I had to wait until the next day to even write this review.

This event is so utterly compelling and gorgeous that obviously I am find it hard to review. Yes some of the stories didn’t quite make an impact but those that did……wow. As with all human relationships, they are never easy or one dimensional…..some are downright disturbing and cruel to watch …… and that is showcased beautifully here. Some of the stories are full of rat-a-tat-tat dialogue…..others have not a single word. I can’t stop thinking about some and wish I could go back and watch again…..just to see if my perspective would change with being familiar with it all this time. I will just have to wait for the DVD.

This event is not for everyone but if you are ‘ thinking’ about going……go. You will regret it if you don’t.

It is showing at the Tower Cinemas Newcastle for a very limted time.

Love Flick xx

 

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