Salvation

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Paul Cox
  • Cast:Rodney Afif, Kim Gyngell, Chris Haywood, Wendy Hughes, Barry Humphries, Bruce Myles
  • Release Date:March 19, 2009
  • Distributor:Hopscotch
  • Running time:98 minutes
  • Film Worth:$14.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…funny, sweet and affecting…”

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You can always rely on Paul Cox, one of Australia's most artistic directors, to give us a good account of the complex equations of love. Here, in his first film since 2004's Human Touch, Cox returns to the theme of earthly human desire in tension with religiosity. As with his earlier film Lust And Revenge, there is an added dimension of trickery and deceit to give the film spice.

The nominal "hero", Barry (Bruce Myles), is a slightly sad, downtrodden married man in his sixties. His longtime wife is Gloria (the ever-delightful Wendy Hughes), a pious but anxious TV evangelist. Away from the small screen, Gloria is all manipulation and exasperation. She cannot recognise or satisfy her own desires, and sublimates her energies into making money and demeaning Barry. All this drives Barry into the arms of a sympathetic Russian prostitute, Irina (Natalia Novikova). In the classic mode, Barry ends up really falling for Irina and, after a while, she gently responds. The only problem is that she is being run by a vicious Russian mafia type (Rodney Afif). It looks as if Barry will have to pay a lot of money to buy her freedom. If he can though, his freedom will be congruent with hers...

It could be said that beauty is the central term in Cox's long and still underrated oeuvre. Beauty is what leads us to love, and it alone contains the truth that religion and money can only fake. More importantly, the beauty of love is available, Cox seems to be saying, but only if you turn your face away from false gods. This is profundity with a light touch. The film itself is funny, sweet and affecting in just the right kind of way.

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