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Adapted from a hit novel by Andrew McGahan, this superb, challenging film is the kind of unorthodox love story we've come to expect from the Australians: an oddballs' romance transfigured by cumulative, surreal domestic insights, an audacity of technique - which gently suggests avant garde borrowings - and a canny use of landscape to contextualise the dark farce of human strivings. Director Curran encourages such brave, rich performances from his two main actors - Fenton playing chain-smoking asthmatic Gordon, and Horler as sexual and substance addict Cynthia - that the movie takes on the nature of an enquiry into sexual politics. There's a lot of pain, love, sex and laughter going down here, but the movie's daring honesty, easy pace and courage in staying with these two right to the bitter end makes it feel like a breakthrough 'male' feminist movie: Betty Blue revisited with the advertising chic ripped out. Cinematographer Dion Beebe puts gutter poetry into the Brisbane flophouse interiors and makes the big blue horizons oddly mysterious. If this sounds like miserabilism, that isn't the whole story. Curran's movie is also funny, moving and thought provoking, edited like a dream and I can't wait for his next one.

Release details

Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Curran
Screenwriter: Andrew McGahan
Cast: Peter Fenton
Sacha Horler
Marta Dusseldorp
Joel Edgerton
Tyvette Duncan
Winston Bull
Gregory Perkins
Loene Carmen
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