November 2008 movies

November 1st, 2008 Film, Film Reviews, Penthouse

Dying Breed

Taking us into horror territory that’s both familiar (wild, forgotten corner of the world where horrible things happen) and fresh (it’s in our own backyard), Australia’s own Deliverance combines two very iconic mystery elements from our national past.

The first is the Tasmanian Tiger, which boyfriend and girlfriend research team Matt (Leigh Saw Whannell) and Nina go in search of in the misty Tasmanian backwoods. Along for the ride are Matt’s obnoxious mate Jack (Nathan Wolf Creek Phillips) and his girlfriend, but they don’t know that another Aussie icon lurks in the darkness — ancestors of Alexander Pearce, the convict who escaped into the wild from the British penal settlement and survived by eating his co-conspirators.

When the foursome stumble on a small forest town straight out of the 1950s and populated with weirdos (including the obligatory scary kid), they don’t realise there are traditions the locals keep very much alive.

Dying Breed’s a well-made and very good-looking film, but it shies away from cashing in directly on the strength of its twin hooks and loses some sense of the genre for its trouble, ending up less a traditional popcorn horror film and more a dark mystery with horror elements.


One-man Hollywood Golden era homage Luhrmann scooped up every jobbing actor, writer (including uber-scripter Stuart Beattie and novelist Richard Flanagan) and crewmember in Australia to drag them all over the top end from the remote Kimberleys to the Whitsundays for his latest magnum opus.

When an English aristocrat (Kidman) inherits Faraway Downs, a sprawling cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere, she’s immediately threatened with a takeover plot. Along with a rugged stockman (Jackman) who causes sparks to fly, the two drive their flock across the country, caught in the crossfire of the World War II bombing of Darwin by the Japanese.

It’s an adventure romance, but with Hollywood backing (ie, a decent budget) and Luhrmann’s sense of spectacle, it’s sure to swell the true blue cockles of hearts all over the country.

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