Separation City

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Paul Middleditch
  • Cast:Danielle Cormack, Joel Edgerton, Les Hill, Thomas Kretschmann, Rhona Mitra
  • Release Date:March 04, 2010
  • Distributor:Hoyts
  • Running time:107 minutes
  • Film Worth:$12.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Despite rough patches, this film delivers a surprisingly absorbing take on the romantic misadventures of a group of thirtysomethings.

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Separation City takes a marriage and dissects it, using comedy and drama like surgical instruments to cut into universal truths about love and lust. It begins with the ocean-side wedding of Simon (Joel Edgerton) and Pam (Danielle Cormack), but soon jumps forward a few years to find that the couple, now parents, aren't living out the idyllic life that they expected. It's not a loveless marriage, but a passionless one. To make matters worse, Simon is seriously tempted by Katrien (Rhona Mitra), a musician, mother and friend of Pam's.

 
The first half of the film, although fairly enjoyable, falters - the comedy is patchy, the storytelling disjointed, and certain minor characters are less than impressive. But when events take the action to Berlin, both the comedy and the drama are ramped up, and the film becomes surprisingly absorbing. Edgerton delivers a typically excellent and understated performance. While the female corners of the love triangle are played well, it's Edgerton that keeps you hooked. But the supports - with the exception of Simon's colleagues Tem (Grant Roa) and Julie (Michelle Langstone) - range from irritating to insipid. Simon's chauvinistic boss, Archie (Alan Lovell), lily-livered Keith (Phil Brown), and wife-bashing fireman Errol (Mike Minogue) are just too broadly drawn.

Shot on location in and around Wellington and Berlin, this New Zealand production is eye-catching. Aussie cinematographer Steve Arnold (Disgrace) does more than just offer pretty postcard views of Wellington - it's as if his lens has captured the sea mist itself. It's exceptional work.

Separation City may be more successful at pinning down the male viewpoint than the female one, and its conclusion doesn't quite ring true. But despite the rough patches, the good far outweighs the mediocre, making the overall experience of Separation City a satisfying one.

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