Tim Winton's The Turning

  • Year:2013
  • Director:Cate Blanchett, Robert Connolly, Warwick Thornton, David Wenham
  • Cast:Wayne Blair , Rose Byrne, Susie Porter, Richard Roxburgh
  • Release Date:September 26, 2013
  • Distributor:Madman
  • Running time:180 minutes
  • Film Worth:$14.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

An admirably ambitious endeavour, which shines with talent on both sides of the camera, but may prove testing due to its sprawling length.

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.A three-hour anthology film with seventeen different directors, Tim Winton’s The Turning is one of the most ambitious screen projects this country has ever produced. For that alone, it deserves our respect. Adapted from a collection of disparate short stories by the acclaimed Australian author whose name is emblazoned in the title, the film boasts a staggering local cast headlined by Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto and Rose Byrne, with industry heavy-hitters including Warwick Thornton, Tony Ayres and the project’s instigator, Robert Connolly, behind the camera.

It’s immensely gratifying to see so much Aussie talent in the one place, and certainly on the levels of performance and technical execution, it’s difficult to identify a weak link. Unfortunately, it’s in the storytelling where The Turning proves more of a mixed bag, with some good plots, some bad ones, and a lot simply middle of the road. Interestingly, the highlights come from David Wenham and Mia Wasikowska, both making their directorial debut. Other chapters feel a little self-important, although this may be the source material as opposed to a fault in the filmmaking.

The quality of any individual segment aside, The Turning suffers from a more basic problem: its length. It’s hard to imagine that audiences won’t grow restless, particularly without any clear narrative thread to link the stories together. Those paying attention will note recurring characters played by different actors, but mostly, the connections are of a thematic nature. Family, faith, addiction, and the power that the past holds on the present are just some of the ideas that the movie has on its mind, yet it fails to make any clear conclusions. Structurally and intellectually, The Turning is admirably bold. It just never quite equals the sum of its parts.

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