Bitter & Twisted

Movies

*** (Three stars)
This film's press materials describe it as “a multinarrative drama of longing and loss starting with the death of a young man.” Sounds dreary, right? Yet the subject matter is almost cheerful as compared to the work's mirthless execution.

The feature directorial debut of Australian child star Christopher Weekes—who is also the screenwriter and one of the acting leads—this languid effort begins with the abrupt (and unexplained) passing of the Lombard family's eldest son, Liam. Action then skips ahead to three years later, as parents Jordan and Penelope Lombard (Steve Rodgers and Noni Hazelhurst), brother Ben (Weekes) and his lover Indigo (Leeanna Walsman) are still struggling to cope with Liam's passing. Although the deceased Liam makes brief cameos throughout the film, we are presented with few clues about his true character, thus increasing the challenge of understanding why he left such a void in the lives of those around him.

To Weekes's directorial credit, the Australian cast (all largely unknown, at least in the U.S.) delivers brave and precise performances. But ultimately this earnest film fails to deliver the sort of insight or action that has made similarly themed titles (e.g., Ordinary People, In the Bedroom) so memorable and engaging.—Scott Wooledge, special projects designer

[This is a TONY staff review, written for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is not considered an official review and should not be read as such. Please think of it as a casual impression from a movie-loving friend.] 

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Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Christopher Weekes
Cast: Steve Rodgers
Leeanna Walsman
Matthew Newton