Sue Brooks’ film has a geologist named Sandy (Toni Collette) being imposed upon to serve as a tour guide to a married Japanese businessman on a visit to Australia for unknown reasons.(“It scares me. Here, lot of space, not many people; in Japan, lot of people, not enough space.”) They share something of a forced Walkabout at odds with one another — typical stereotypes strongly reinforced along the way to make Collette an obstreperous, obnoxious Australian, and Gotaro Tsunashima a cliché sidekick, singing along poorly to karaoke and laughed at because of the rigidity of his culture — before a sudden apostasy and affair arise, and before he accidentally dies, leaving Collette in tortured agony. Apart from being a piss-poor clash of cultures, a very good recent example being Fear and Trembling (one of the films I did see in Palm Springs), this is a loosely constructed non-narrative that serves as an open canvass for Collette to show off her stuff, only to embarrassingly fail. (The fact that her performance was once the talk of a possible Oscar nomination is funnier than anything in the film.) Brooks oscillates between attempts at superficial humor through the division of the two characters and their differences in backgrounds, and heavy-handed grieving for a turnabout that isn’t in the slightest believable. Above all, the thing is a big bore, and for all of the beauty that lies within Australia, the best look we get is during the opening credits.[Not to be bothered with.]
For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.