- Director:Rowan Woods
- Cast:Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Jackie Earle Haley, Guy Pearce, Forest Whitaker
- Release Date:July 09, 2009
- Running time:100 minutes
- Film Worth:$9.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Despite a collection of talented actors, Winged Creatures doesn’t break any new ground.
Aussie director Rowan Woods loves ensemble dramas and, to his credit, he knows exactly how to get the best performances from his cast - be it The Boys' performers-on-the-rise (David Wenham, John Polson, Anthony Hayes), Little Fish's Australian deluxe actor package (Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving, Martin Henderson) or Winged Creatures' left-side-of-Hollywood troupe. The problem is that in Winged Creatures, Woods often wanders aimlessly, and his heavy handed direction comes off as disjointed and pretentious.
Based on the novel by Roy Freirich, the film's premise is simple: man walks into a diner, pulls a gun, terrorises everyone, shoots several people, blows his head off, and leaves behind a bunch of traumatised survivors. The plot mainly focuses on the psychological aftermath.
Forest Whitaker, as usual, gives a tour de force performance as a driving teacher who survives a bullet and decides to try his new-found luck in Las Vegas - here Woods brilliantly conveys a sense of looming tragedy and inevitability that will keep the audience guessing till the end. Unfortunately, the rest of the stories and characters (including Guy Pearce's bizarrely self-lacerating doctor and Kate Beckinsale's curiously troubled waitress) are not as compelling, mainly because it's nearly impossible to be empathetic (or even ambivalent) to characters who are so damn infuriating, no matter how good the performances are. On that note, special mention has to be made of young actress Dakota Fanning (playing a girl whose father dies during the shooting, which sends her into a religious fervour) who seems determined to monopolise every "extremely-annoying-little-girl" role out there.
Considering the talent involved in Winged Creatures, it's a pity that the movie never manages to fly above your average Hallmark drama.