The Eye Of The Storm

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Fred Schepisi
  • Cast:Dustin Clare , Judy Davis, Colin Friels, Charlotte Rampling, Geoffrey Rush
  • Release Date:September 15, 2011
  • Distributor:Transmission
  • Running time:114 minutes
  • Film Worth:$11.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Sadly, this is not the return to form expected from director Fred Schepisi, whose laboured direction never finds the right tone between comedy and tragedy.

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The last time that Geoffrey Rush played a struggling Aussie thesp, his co-star, director, producers and writer all earned Oscars. Rush's new film, The Eye Of The Storm, has even better pedigree. Based on the novel by Patrick White, The Eye Of The Storm features an outstanding cast, and is directed by the venerable Fred Schepisi (The Devil's Playground, Roxanne). Unhappily though, this Australian production is not the return to form expected from the talented Schepisi, whose once-sure feel for compelling, credible drama and tone eludes him here. 

Brit import Charlotte Rampling is Elizabeth Hunter, a wealthy widow whose impending passing prompts the return to Aussie shores of her two children: Judy Davis is the standoffish Princess Dorothy, a divorcee who kept little in her royal divorce aside from her title. Rush is Sir Basil, a revered stage performer in Australia and overseas who has fallen on hard times after a poor showing as King Lear.

What is most disappointing - and surprising - about The Eye Of The Storm is that Schepisi's direction is so flat-footed. Only a handful of scenes work either dramatically or comically: for instance, a trip to the seashore manages to capture the intended combustion of drama and comedy of the family's ridiculousness. Mostly, the film is clumsily constructed on a tonal or visual level. Sequences involving the siblings' social discomfort are more painful than painfully funny, especially those that involve Colin Friels' appearance as a larrikin pollie.

For the most part, the actors are okay. Rush and Davis have essentially played variations of these parts for directors like Woody Allen and Tom Hooper, but they labour here without the benefit of a stronger presence behind the camera. Rampling, who spends most of the film lying down, establishes herself as one of the few foreign actors comfortable with the local accent.

 

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